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Life, Speeches, and Public Services 



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Republican Candidates for the Offices of President and Vice" 
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If there is any one peculiarity of American nationa- 
lity, any phase of American character by which it is 
distinguished in the eyes of discerning foreigners, any 
trait that will make it pre-eminent in history, it is that 
singular sort of energy, half physical and half intellec- 
tual, nervous, intense, untiring, which has achieved all 
of greatness that America has yet attained ; it is this that 
is applied to every aim, that is found in every class in life, 
that is evident in Morse and Franklin and Webster and 
Scott ; that captures Monterey and searches for the North 
Pole, that lays Atlantic Telegraphs and subdues the 
Indian race ; that covers a continent with railways, that 
converts a distant colony into a thriving State in half a 
dozen years, that has carried this people to its present 
height of prosperity and power. ISTo w, although this nerv- 
ous untiring energy is in some sort intellectual, although 
it implies the possession and the exercise of brain, yet it 
IS as much material as intellectual ; it consists in the appli- 
cation of power to matter ; it is not ideal but eminently 
practical ; it is like a steam engine, the product, the result 
of profound and hiddeo^rces, of internal fires, but its 
action is externally derfl^strated ; it rides over and under 
mountains, it bridges rivers, and reaches its aim by tramp- 
ling upon obstacles: it is not delicate nor dainty, but 
tremendous and terrible ; it is successful. This energy is 
manifested in various ways and by various characters, 

6 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

but by none more emphatically than the backwoods- 
man : the backwoods-man of to-day corresponds to the 
Puritan of two centuries ago. The same work which the 
Pilgrim Fathers had to do in New England, is now set 
' for the settlers in Illinois and Wisconsin. This work, 
whose accomplishment is the wonder of Europe, is the 
subduing of nature, the civilization of a continent. 

The backwoods-man represents this individual trait of 
American character. Abroad, the backwoods-man is 
looked upon, and rightly, as the representative American. 

Hitherto the backwoods-man has been powerful and 
important, it is true, but never until now has been con- 
ceded to him the first place. Men of experience and cul- 
ture and training in the arts of polished life have claimed 
the highest honors in America as abroad. But the 
natural result of democratic institutions is now accomp- 
lished, and a great and powerful party has selected for 
its standard bearer, one who never received more 
than six months' schooling, who has not only sprung 
directly from the people, but who still belongs to the 
people, who is of them, and among them ; who, like 
Antaeus, finds his greatest strength in his contact with 
that from which he sprang; one whose parents were 
poor, and who is now not rich, but whose native energie| 
and untutored talents have obtained for him the remark- 
able recognition which we chronicle. Whatever may be 
the result of the approaching Presidential election, it will 
always be distinguished for the elevation of one who 
had been a working man to such pre-eminence as that 
accorded to Abram Lincoln. This is a legitimate re- 
sult of democracy ; Lincoln himself in his history and in 
his character is the true ofispring of a democracy. No 
where else in the world could such things be, and be 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 7 

normal and natural. A fisherman may be for three days 
king of Naples, but Massaniello was the child of a revolu- 
tion ; a butcher-boy has in England been prime-minister, 
but it was the church and the favor of his sovereign that 
elevated Wolsey ; only in America could a man possess- 
ing none of the advantages of birth or fortune, or friends 
or education — achieve so marked success, in the ordinary 
course of events, and solely by dint of his own energy 
and industry and ability. Should he be elected Presi- 
dent, Abram Lincoln will be the truest illustration and 
exponent and outcrop of American institutions that those 
institututions have ever known. 

He has revolutionary blood in his veins. The Lin- 
colns of Massachusetts, who are known for their patriot- 
ism in the war of '76, were his progenitors. That Gene- 
ral Lincoln, who at Yorktown, received from Washing- 
ton the sword of Cornwallis, was of the same family; but 
in this country, families are not long powerful or distin- 
guished ; they not only rise suddenly from obscurity, but 
they descend to it again as abruptly. It was so in this 
instance. Abram Lincoln, the grandfather of him who is 
now the leader of the Republican party, was originally a 
quaker of Berks county, Pennsylvania ; and in the east- 
ern part of that state, some of his kindred and name may 
still be found. He early emigrated to Rockingham 
county, Virginia, where some of his children were born. 
However, not all the descendants of the old Friend, were 
destined to be southerners, for in 1782 he, who seems to 
have been a sort of patriarch, governing the conduct even 
of his adult and married sons, removed to Hardin coun- 
ty, Kentucky, where he was surprised and killed by In- 
dians while at work on his clearing. His grandson, 
Abram, was born Feb. 12, 1809 : the lad enjoyed lit- 

8 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

tie parental care, for when he was but six years old, his 
father died, leaving a widow and several children, poor, 
and almost friendless ; so his entrance into life was under 
any but apparently favorable auspices ; in the uncleared 
forests of Kentucky, amid the rude associations of poverty 
and comparative ignorance ; familiarized with the log- 
cabin and the rifle, rather than the school-room or the 
primer ; accustomed to the plow, and to the most ordi- 
nary and roughest sorts of labor from his very boyhood. 
Yet, such influences as these have trained others into 
men of mark ; have schooled the character and developed 
the intellects of some whose figure in the world has not 
been despicable. There are natures for whom such 
hardening associations are the happiest, and Abram 
Lincoln seems to have been of these. 

The family removed to Spencer county, Indiana, in 
1816, but hardly relieved their destitution by this change 
of abode ; so in 1830, Abram pushed still further west, 
into Illinois. He was now twenty-one, and had grown 
to more than the ordinary stature of manhood, his height 
being six feet and three inches, but his mental faculties 
had hitherto received no technical training ; opportuni- 
ties for what is ordinarily styled education, had been 
utterly without his reach. He had lived, and still lived i 
the life of the laborious poor. He was, by turns, a com- 
mon farm laborer, a workman in a saw-mill, a splitter of 
rails, and a flat-boatman on the Wabash and Mississippi 
rivers — positions, none of them affording remarkable edu- 
cational advantages. Still, he must have been awake and 
alive to what opportunities were thrown in his way, and 
a vigorous mind makes opportunities for itself That he 
had a vigorous mind, is amply proven by his after career. 
He was being moulded by circumstances even so unpro- 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 9 

pitious as these, into one who, in due time, should be able 
to mould circumstances themselves. This frontier life, 
coarse as it may seem, yet developes the essential stamina 
of character ; it fosters no fastidious refinements, but it 
produces men capable of material and even of intellec- 
tual greatness. 

In 1831, Lincoln still changing his home until he 
should find one thoroughly to suit him, removed to New 
Salem, in Sagamon county, Illinois; here he remain- 
ed a year, salesman in a country shop, or store ; but 
trade was not long to engross his energies ; the Black 
Hawk war broke out, and opened a new sphere to him ; 
gave him another opportunity of seeing life in still ano- 
ther phase. The federal government called for volun- 
teers, and he responded. He must have already shown 
some marks of determination or of character, for he was 
chosen captain of his company. The settlers of that 
day were obliged thus to defend their farms and their 
scanty trade against the attacks of the Indians, not yet 
permanently repulsed. Illinois, especially, was often 
beset by the invaders ; and the hardy adventurers, mostly 
like Lincoln from Kentucky and Virginia, were like the 
New Englanders two centuries earlier, obliged to leave 
the plow for the rifle, and resist, by turns, the attacks of 
the Sacs, the Pottawatamies, the Kickapoos, and the 
Shawnees. So they marched into the wilderness to repel 
Mucata-Muhicata, the fiercest of the marauders. Gene- 
rals Gaines and Atkinson led on the settlers, and it was 
two years before the series of skirmishes had rid the 
country of its pestilent assailants. Mr. Lincoln thus 
humorously alluded to this experience many years after 
in a Congressional speech : 

" By the way, Mr. Speaker, did you know I was a 


lo The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

military hero ? Yes, sir, in the days of the Black Hawk 
war I fought, bled, and came away. Speaking of Gen. 
Cass's career, reminds me of my own. I was not at Sul- 
livan's defeat, but I was about as near it as Cass was to 
Hull's surrender; and like him I saw the place soon 
after. It is quite certain that I did not break m}^ sword, 
for I had none to break ; but I bent my musket pretty 
badly on one occasion. If Cass broke his sword, the idea 
is, he broke it in desperation. I bent the musket by 
accident. If Gren. Cass went in advance of me in picking 
whortleberries, I guess I surpassed him in charges upon 
the wild onions. If he saw any live fighting Indians, 
it was more than I did, but I had a good many bloody 
struggles with the musquitoes ; and although I never 
fainted from loss of blood, I certainly can say, I was 
often very hungry." 

It is highly probable that in this description, Mr. Lin- 
coln underrated his own services for the sake of ridicul- 
ing those of Gen. Cass, who was then running for the 
Presidency. He, probably, little thought that he himself 
would one day be in a similar predicament. 

In an unsettled region, the arts of war and peace are 
often confounded, and as republics of ancient and mod- 
ern times have offered civic honors to their successful 
generals, it was not surprising that Capt. Lincoln should 
be nominated for the State Legislature immediately after 
his return from the Black Hawk war. He was not 
elected, but the mention of his name in connection with 
office, at so early an age, only twenty-three, indicates the 
progress he was making in the estimation and confidence 
of those by whom he was surrounded. One defeat, how- 
ever, did not dishearten him ; and in 1833 he was elected 
by the Whig party to the lower House, and served for 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. ii 

five successive sessions. During this legislative career, he 
first met Stephen A. Douglas, and then began the rivalry 
which has been at times so fierce, and which has not jet, 
after a quarter of a century, subsided ; but has instead 
become a matter of national interest. At this time he 
was a land surveyor, but so poor that in 1837 his instru- 
ments were sold under execution. While serving as a 
member of the State Legislature, and contriving to gain 
a scanty livelihood by his laborious occupation, Lincoln 
found time to study the law, and was admitted to the Illi- 
nois bar, where he ever since has maintained a position 
of importance and influence. He distinguished himself 
by his political affiliations, being early a popular advo- 
cate of Whig principles, and especially of the famous pro- 
tective policy of Henry Clay, which was then one of the 
matters engrossing public attention and interest. In fact, 
he was a Whig candidate for Presidential Elector in every 
quadrennial contest from 1836 to 1852, inclusive, and in 
1844 he stumped the state for Clay, making an entire 
tour of Illinois, and learning to perfection the art of 
addressing popular assemblages. 

Mr. Lincoln's style and manner are peculiarly adapted 
to produce effects upon what, in this country, are called 
mass meetings. He is ready, precise, and fluent ; witty 
and humorous by turns ; has a good command of forcible 
and telling, but homely language — all the more telling, 
because homely ; his illustrations are apt, his arguments 
often cogent, his good-nature and self-possession unfailing. 
His enimciation is slow and emphatic, and his whole 
bearing indicates great sincerity and earnestness, which 
alone are sufficient to awaken the sympathy of his listen- 
ers. His features are not handsome, but extremely 
mobile ; his mouth particularly so. He has a faculty of 

12 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

contorting that feature in a style excessively ludicrous, 
and which never fails to provoke uproarious merriment. 
In fact, the good humor that gleams in his eye, and lurks 
in the corners of his mouth, is perfectly irresistible. His 
complexion is dark, his eyes small but twinkling, his hair 
of a mingled grey and brown, his nose long and penetra- 
ting ; his whole countenance indicates character, and is 
susceptible of an expression of great impressiveness, all the 
more remarkable from the contrast with the extremely 
humorous air it sometimes assumes: the forehead and 
nostrils, to a physiognomist, afford sure evidence of 
thought. He is tall and lank in figure ; at once elastic 
and awkward in his ordinary movements, but when 
infused with that profound earnestness he so often 
manifests, all his gesticulation is appropriate ; his voice 
then becomes sharp and powerful, his movements lose 
their angularity, and that magnetic quality seems evolved 
that is only found in natural orators, but which is 
more effective in moving or swaying the passions and 
sometimes the convictions of an audience, than the most 
elaborate results of the oratory of the schools. 

The quality of his speeches will be sufiiciently indica- 
ted in this volume ; they are, however, eminently 
addressed to the popular mind. Although they often 
contain arguments and are marked by peculiarities that 
scholars and rhetoricians will appreciate, their eloquence 
is natural, their rhetoric unstudied. The language is not 
elegant, but frequently has ten times more force than the 
carefully rounded periods which lose their point by being 
moulded and smoothed so persistently. In fact, all the 
peculiarities and excellencies of Abraham Lincoln are 
those of a man whose life has been spent in the West ; 
who has made himself, who is accustomed to dealing with 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 13 

men of all sorts and conditions, whose talents and ener- 
gies are undoubted and matured, but not refined or highly 
cultivated. His personal demeanor is of the same sort. 
Those who have known him best, describe him as genial, 
manly, frank, and although his experiences have been of 
the roughest kind, free from many of the habits common 
among his associates. He neither drinks, nor chews, nor 
swears, nor smokes, and even the most inveterate advo- 
cate of these practices will acknowledge that such absti- 
nence in one surrounded by his associations, is an indica- 
tion of more than ordinary firmness and independence of 
character. The synonym of " Honest Old Abe" betrays 
the estimation put upon his integrity, and conveys also 
an intimation of his personal popularity. A writer in 
the " Evening Post," speaks thus of an interview with 
the candidate of the Eepublican party : 

" It had been reported by some of Mr. Lincoln's poli- 
tical enemies that he was a man who lived in the ' lowest 
hoosier style,' and I thought I would see for myself 
Accordingly, as soon as the business of the Convention 
was closed, I took the cars for Springfield. I found Mr. 
Lincoln living in a handsome, but not pretentious, 
double two-story frame house, having a wide hall run- 
ning through the centre, with parlors on both sides, 
neatly, but not ostentatiously, furnished. It was just 
such a dwelling as a majority of the well-to-do residents 
of these fine western towns occupy. Every thing about it 
had a look of comfort and independence. The librar}^ I 
remarked in passing, particularly, and I was pleased to 
see long rows of books, which told of the scholarly 
tastes and culture of the family. 

" Lincoln received us with great, and to me, surpris- 
ing urbanity. I had seen him before in New York, and 
brought with me an impression of his awkward and 
ungainly manner ; but in his own house, where he 

14 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

doubtless feels himself freer than in the strange New 
York circles, he had thrown this off, and appeared easy, 
if not gracefid. He is, as you know, a tall, lank man, 
with a long neck, and his ordinar}^ movements are unu- 
sually angular, even out west. As soon, however, as he 
gets interested in conversation, his face lights up and his 
attitudes and gestures assume a certain dignity and 
impressiveness. His conversation is fluent, agreeable, 
and polite. You see at once from it that he is a man of 
decided and original character. His views are all his 
own; such as he has worked out from a patient and 
varied scrutiny of life, and not such as he has learned 
from others. Yet he cannot be called opinionated. He 
listens to others like one eager to learn, and his replies 
evince at the same time both modesty and self-reliance. 
I should say that sound common sense was the principal 
quality of his mind, although at times a striking phrase 
or word reveals a peculian vein of thought. He tells a 
story well, with a strong idiomatic smack, and seems to 
relish humor both in himself and others. Our conversa- 
tion was mainly political, but of a general i^Mure. One 
thing Mr. Lincoln remarked which I willrS^ture to 
repeat. He said that in the coming presidential canvass 
he was wholly uncommitted to any cabals or cliques, and 
that he meant to keep himself free from them, and from 
all pledges and promises. 

Mr. Lincoln's early political advancement was not 
rapid, for he espoused the cause which in Illinois was 
unpopular ; when he entered public life the State was 
decidedly Jacksonian ; it even resisted the avalanche of 
Whig success, which in 1840 overwhelmed the country, 
and carried Harrison triumphantly to Washington ; it 
was one of the seven States that then cast its electoral 
vote for Yan Buren ; it was unfavorable both to Clay 
and to Tajdor, and to this day has never elected a Whig 
to the United States Senate ; but in despite of all these, 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 15 

that to a man bent merely on personal aggrandizement, 
would liave been effectual reasons for changing his poli- 
tical relations, Lincoln remained firm in the faith he first 
professed. His Whig comrades appreciated this fidelity. 
He was only thirty-five when chosen to head the Clay 
electoral ticket — a position he has since maintained, 
either in the Whig or Republican party, until the pre- 
sent year, when his name will not probably be included 
in the list. He has, however, never but once, since 1844, 
been a candidate for any other office in the gift of the 
people, although he has repeatedly worked in behalf of 
his party, stumping the state at every Presidential elec- 
tion with vigor, if not with success. 

In 1846 he was elected to Congress from the Central 
District of Illinois ; he was the only Whig in the state 
delegation of seven, and his majority (1511), was the 
largest ever given in that District to any candidate 
opposed to the Democracy ; larger even than that 
received by Gen. Taylor, and twice larger than Henry 
Clay's ; so that his popularity among those with whom 
he lived may be fairly affirmed. During the first session 
of the thirtieth Congress (that only in which he served), 
he made three important speeches, two of them on what 
are now forgotten issues — the Mexican War, and the 
Presidential canvass of 1848 ; in the former, his attack on 
the President was pungent, and severe, and logical ; in 
the latter, his Western style of oratory was still more 
fully developed ; on each occasion he maintained with 
vigor and ability the views of the Whig party. He was 
a warm and personal friend of Henry Clay, and advo- 
cated the doctrines advanced by that statesman with 
all the ardor of which he was capable. 

The following resolutions introduced by him on the 

1 6 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

Mexican TVar question, give the gist of the ideas that 
were more amply set forth in his speech of a few weeks 


Me. Lincoln moved the following preambles and 
resolutions, which were read and laid over under the 
rule : 

" Whereas the President of the United States, in his 
message of May 11, 1846, has declared that " the Mexican 
Government not only refused to receive him (the envoy 
of the United States), or listen to his pro}X)sitions, but 
after a long-continued series of menaces, have at last 
invaded our territory and shed the blood of our fellow 
citizens on our own soil." 

And again in his message of December 8, 1846, that 
" we had ample cause of war against Mexico long before 
the breaking out of hostihties, but even then we forbore 
to take redress into our own hands until Mexico herself 
became the aggressor, by invading our soil in hostile 
array, and shedding the blood of our citizens." 

And yet again in the message of December 7, 1847, 
that "the Mexican Government refused even to hear the 
terms of adjustment which he (our minister of peace), was 
authorized to propose, and finally, under wholly unjusti- 
fiable pretexts, involved the two countries in war, by 
invading the territory of the State of Texas, striking the 
first blow, and shedding the blood of our citizens on our 
own soiL" 

And whereas this House is desirous to obtain a full 
knowledge of all the facts which go to establish whether 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 17 

the particular spot on whicli the blood of our citizens 
was so shed, was or was not at that time our own soil. 

Eesolved by the House of Eepresentatives, That the 
President of the United States be respectfully requested 
to inform this House, 

1st. Whether the spot on which the blood of our 
citizens was shed, as in his messages declared, was or 
was not within the Territory of Spain, at least after the 
treaty of 1819, until the Mexican revolution. 

2nd. Whether that spot is or is not within the territory 
which was wrested from Spain by the revolutionary 
Government of Mexico. 

3rd. Whether that spot is or is not within a settlement 
of people, which settlement has existed ever since long 
before the Texas revolution, and until its inhabitants fled 
before the approach of the United States Army. 

4:th. Whether that settlement is or is not isolated from 
anv and all other settlements by the Gulf and the Eio 
Grande, on the south and west, and by wide uninhabited 
regions, on the north and east. 

5th. Whether the people of that settlement, or a 
majority of them, or any of them, have ever submitted 
themselves to the Government or laws of Texas or of the 
United States, by consent or by compulsion, either by 
accepting office, or voting at elections, or paying tax, or 
serving on juries, or having process served upon them, 
or in any other way. 

6th. Whether the people of that settlement did or did 
not flee from the approach of the United States army, 
leaving unprotected their homes and their growing crops, 
before the blood was shed, as in the message stated ; and 
whether the first blood, so shed, was or was not shed 

l8 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

within the enclosure of one of the people who had thus 
fled from it. 

7th. Whether our citizens, whose blood was shed, as 
in hie messages declared, were or were not at that time, 
armed officers and soldiers, sent into that settlement by 
the military order of the President, through the Secretary 
of War. 

8th. Whether the military force of the United States 
was or was not so sent into that settlement after General 
Taylor had more than once intimated to the war depart- 
ment that, in his opinion, no such movement was neces- 
sary to the defence or protection of Texas." 

The speech itself that was made in favor of these 
resolutions was forcible, both logical and humorous by 
turns, and a successful initiatory effort in Lincoln's con- 
gressional career. It was followed up by one less elaborate, 
on the Soldiers' Bounty ; and on the 4th of May, 1848, 
some few remarks were made by him in regard to the 
payment by government for the horses lost in the war by 
the Texas volunteers. These we append : they indicate 
Lincoln's desire for fairness in the distribution of govern- 
mental favors. 

soldiers' boijntt. 

Mr. Lincoln said : " If there was a general desire on 
the part of the House to pass the bill now, he should 
be glad to have it done — concurring, as he did generally, 
with the gentleman from Arkansas (Mr. Johnson), that 
the postponement might jeopard the safety of the pro- 
position. If, however, a reference was to be made, he 
wished to make a very few remarks in relation to the 

The Life of Abmm Lincoln. ig 

several subjects desired bj gentlemen to be embraced 
in amendments to the ninth section of the act of the last 
session of Congress. The first amendment declared by 
members of this House, had for its only object to give 
bounty lands to such persons as had served for a time 
as privates, but had never been discharged as such, 
because promoted to office. That subject, and no other, 
was embraced in this bill. There were some others 
who desired, while they were legislating on this subject, 
that they should also give bounty lands to the volun- 
teers of the war of 1812. His friend from Maryland 
said there were no such men. He (Mr. L.) did not say 
there were many, but he was very confident there were 
some. His friend from Kentucky, near him, (Mr. Gaines), 
told him he himself was one. 

" There was still another proposition touching this 
matter ; that was, that persons entitled to bounty land, 
should, by law, be entitled to locate those lands in 
parcels, and not be required to locate them in one body, 
as was provided by the existing law. 

" Kow he had carefully drawn up a bill embracing 
these three separate propositions, which he intended to 
propose as a substitute for all these bills in the House, 
or in Committee of the Whole on the State of the Union, 
at some suitable time. If there was a disposition on 
the part of the House to act at once on this separate 
proposition, he repeated that, with the gentleman from 
Arkansas, he should prefer it, lest they should lose all. 
But if there was to be a reference, he desired to intro- 
duce his Bill embracing the three propositions, thus 
enabling: the Committee and the House to act at the 
same time, whether favorably or unfavorably upon all." 

20 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 


Mat 4, 1848. 

Mr. Lincoln said, " The objection started by the gen- 
tleman from Missouri (Mr. Hall), struck bim as being a 
sound one ; and be wished to ascertain if there was any 
thing further to be learned about this claim, for he 
desired fully to understand it. He understood that the 
volunteers who served in Mexico were not by any gene- 
ral law entitled to j)ay for lost horses, and he understood 
that if this resolution sliould pass, the Texas volunteers 
would be entitled to compensation for lost horses. Thus 
they would be placed in more favorable circumstances 
than others." 

Mr. Lincoln also said, "The payment for these lost horses 
came within a class of cases in which he was a good deal 
like a gentleman near him, who was in favor of paying 
for everything by way of being sure of paying all those 
that were right. But if this resolution should be passed, 
and the general law should fail, then everybody but 
these Texas volunteers would go without their compen- 
sation. He was not willing to do any thing that would 
produce such a result. He preferred placing the Texas 
volunteers on a level with all other volunteers, and there- 
fore, he should vote for the reconsideration." 

Lincoln's penetration and acumen are apparent in the 
following terse remarks, which are so lucid and compre- 
hensive that they require no explanation. 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 21 


June 28, 1848. 

Mr. Lincoln said, " He felt unwilling to be either 
unjust or ungenerous, and be wanted to understand tbe 
real case of tbis Judicial officer. Tbe gentleman from 
Virginia bad stated tbat be bad to bold eleven courts. 
Now, everybody knew tbat it was not tbe babit of tbe 
district Judges of tbe United States in otber states to 
bold any tbing like tbat number of courts; and be there- 
fore took it for granted tbat this must happen under a 
peculiar law, which required that a large number of courts 
be bolden every year ; and these laws he further sup- 
posed were passed at tbe request of tbe people of that 
Judicial District. It came, then, to this : that the people 
in the "Western District of Virginia had got eleven Courts 
to be held among them in one year, for their own accom- 
modation ; and being thus better accommodated than 
their neighbors elsewhere, they wanted their Judge to be 
a little better paid. In Illinois, there bad been, until 
the present season, but one District Court held in the 
year. There were now to be two. Could it be that the 
Western District of Virginia furnished more business for 
a Judge than the whole State of Ilbnois." 

The following views on the price of public lands seem 
eminently just, and are interesting, as coming from one 
who may hereafter be very influential in administering 
laws similar to tbat which be here discusses. 

22 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 


May 11, 1848. 

Mr, Lincoln moved to reconsider the vote by which 
the bill was passed. He stated to the House that he had 
made this motion for the purpose of obtaining an oppor- 
tunity to say a few words in relation to a point raised in 
the course of the debate on this bill, which he would now 
proceed to make, if in order. The point in the case to 
which he referred, arose on the amendment that was sub- 
mitted by the gentleman from Yermont (Mr. Collamer), 
in Committee of the Whole on the State of the Union, and 
which was afterwards renewed in the House, in relation 
to the question whether the res erved sections, which, by 
some bills heretofore passed, by which an appropriation 
of land had been made to Wisconsin, had been enhanced 
in value, should be reduced to the minimum price of the 
public lands. The question of the reduction in value 
of those sections was, to him, at this time, a matter very 
nearly of indifference. He was inclined to desire that 
Wisconsin should be obliged by having it reduced. But 
the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. C. B. Smith), the Chair- 
man of the Committee on the Territories, yesterday asso- 
ciated that question with the general question, which is 
now, to so!tte extent, agitated in Congress, of making 
appropriations of alternate sections of land to aid the 
States in making internal improvements, and enhancing 
the prices of the section reserved, and the gentleman from 
Indiana took ground against that policy. He did not 
make any special argument in favor of Wisconsin ; but 
he took ground generally against the policy of giving 

The Life of Abraiu Lincoln. 23 

alternate sections of land, and enhancing the price of the 
reserved sections. Now, he (Mr. L.) did not at this 
time, take the floor for the purpose of attempting to make 
an argument on the general subject. He rose simply to 
protest against the doctrine which the gentleman from 
Indiana had avowed in the course of what he (Mr. L.) 
could not but consider an unsound argument. 

It might however be true, for anything he knew, that 
the gentleman from Indiana might convince him that 
his argument was sound ; but he (Mr. L.) feared that 
gentleman would not be able to convince a majority in 
Congress that it was sound. It was true, the question 
appeared in a different aspect to persons in consequence 
of a difference in the point from which they looked at it. 
It did not look to persons residing east of the mountains 
as it did to those who lived among the public lands. 
But, for his part, he would state that if Congress would 
make a donation of alternate sections of public lands for 
the purpose of internal improvement in his state, and 
forbid the reserved sections being sold at $1.25, he should 
be glad to see the appropriation made, though he should 
prefer it if the reserved sections were not enhanced in 
price. He repeated, he should be glad to have such ap- 
propriations made, even though the reserved sections 
should be enhanced in price. He did not wish to be un- 
derstood as concurring in any intimation that they would 
refuse to receive such an appropriation of alternate sec- 
tions of land because a condition enhancing the price of 
the reserved sections should be attached thereto. He be- 
lieved his position would now be understood, if not, he 
feared he should not be able to make himself under- 

But before he took his seat he would remark that the 

24 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

Senate, during the present session, had passed a bill 
making appropriations of land on that principle for the 
benefit of the State in which he resided — the State of 
Illinois. The alternate sections were to be given for the 
purpose of constructing roads, and the reserved sections 
were to be enhanced in value in consequence. When 
the bill came here for the action of this House, it had 
been received, and was now before the Committee on 
Public Lands — he desired much to see it passed as it was, 
if it could be put in a more favorable form for the State 
of Illinois. When it should be before this House, if any 
member from a section of the Union in which these 
lands did not lie, whose interest might be less than that 
which he felt, should propose a reduction of the price of 
the reserved sections to $1.25, he should be much obliged ; 
but he did not think it would be well for those who came 
from the section of the Union in which the lands lay, to 
do so. He wished it, then, to be understood, that he did 
not join in the warfare against the principle which had 
engaged the minds of some members of Congress who 
were favorable to improvements in the western country. 

There was a good deal of force, he admitted, in what 
fell from the Chairman of the Committee on Territories. 
It might be that there was no precise justice in raising 
the price of the reserved sections to $2.50 per acre. It 
might be proper that the price should be enhanced to 
some extent, though not to double the usual price ; but 
he should be glad to have such an appropriation with 
the reserved Sections at $2.50 ; he should be better 
pleased to have the price of those sections at something 
less ; and he should be still better pleased to have them 
without any enhancement at all. 

There was one portion of the argument of the gentle- 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 25 

man from Indiana, tlie Chairman of the Committee on 
Territories (Mr. Smith), which he wished to take occasion 
to saj that he did not view as nnsonnd. He alluded to 
the statement that the General Grovernment was inte- 
rested in these internal improvements being made, inas- 
much as they increased the value of the lands that were 
unsold, and they enabled the Government to sell lands 
which could not be sold without them. Thus, then, the 
Government gained by internal improvements, as well 
as by the general good which the people derived from 
them, and it might be, therefore, that the lands should 
not be sold for more than $1.50, instead of the price 
being doubled. He, however, merely mentioned this in 
passing, for he only rose to state, as the principle of 
giving these lands for the purposes which he had men- 
tioned had been laid hold of and considered favorablv, 
and as there were some gentlemen who had constitutional 
scruples about giving money for these purposes, who 
would not hesitate to give land, that he was not willing 
to have it understood that he was one of those who made 
war agaiust that principle. This was all he desired to 
say, and having accomplished the object with which he 
rose, he withdrew his motion to reconsider." 

The other speeches made at this session were a strong 
one in favor of internal improvements, and a witty party 
speech to which we have already alluded. 

At this time the two houses of Congress were crowded 
with men of ability : Hamlin, who is now running with 
Lincoln on the same ticket ; Houston, who at one time 
seemed likely to be his opponent in the present Presi- 
dential canvass ; Hunter, of Virginia ; Reverdy Johnson, 
Calhoun, Dickinson, Bell, the nominee of the Third 
party, Douglas, Webster, Seward, Cass, Shields, Benton, 

26 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

Clayton, Corwin, Cameron, were in the Senate ; and in 
the House, Jefferson Davis, John Quincy Adams, Wil- 
mot, Toombs, Giddings, Greeley, Washington Hunt, and 
others who have since attained distinction, were his com- 
^" peers. This was the session when the famous Wilmot 
proviso was introduced, and Lincoln voted forty-two 
times in its favor. He was, as we have said, the only 
Whig in the delegation from Elinois, and upheld the 
cause of his party manfully ; the various questions of the 
Mexican War, the Texas Boundary, the Oregon Bill, 
and the Harbor Improvements, as they by turns engaged 
the attention of the Congress, afforded him ample oppor- 
tunities for studying public affairs ; and it is probable 
that their discussion, and the contact with so many minds 
of first rate calibre, had an influence on his own intellect, 
developing and maturing its powers. He thus early in 
his career took the stand which he has ever since main- 
tained with the opponents of slavery : his opposition to 
the Mexican war, his voting for the Wilmot proviso, his 
speeches and votes, all were precursors of the bill he 
brought in, during the second session of the thirtieth 
Congress, providing for the abolition of slavery in the 
District of Columbia, under certain restrictions, the aboli- 
tion to be consummated only when the inhabitants of the 
District should vote in its favor. The resolutions, and a 
few remarks made by him in presenting them, we here 
append : 

Jan. 10, 1849. — In the debate on the slave trade in 
the District of Columbia, Mr. Lincoln introduced an 
amendment to a bill before the House. 

Mr. L. read as follows : 

Strike out all after the word " resolved," and insert 
the following — 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 27 

" That the Committee on the District of Columbia be 
instructed to report a bill in substance, as follows : 

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of 
Representatives of the United States in Congress assem- 
bled, That no person not now within the District of 
Columbia, nor now owned by any person or persons 
now resident within it, nor hereafter born within it, shall 
ever be held in slavery within said District. 

Sec. 2. That no person now within said District, or 
now^ owned by any person or persons now resident 
within the same, or hereafter born within it, shall ever 
be held in slavery without the limits of said District : 
Provided, That officers of the Government of the United 
States, being citizens of the slaveholding States, coming 
into said District on public business, and remaining only 
so long as may be reasonably necessary for that object, 
may be attended into and out of said District, and while 
there, by the necessary servants of themselves and 
their families, without their right to hold such servants 
in service being impaired. 

Sec. 3. That all children born of slave mothers within 
said District, on or after the 1st day of January, in the 
year of our Lord 1850, shall be free ; but shall be 
reasonably supported and educated by the respective 
owners of their mothers, or by their heirs or represen- 
tatives, and shall serve reasonable service as apprentices 
to such owners, heirs, or representatives, nntil they 

respectively arrive at the age of years, when they 

shall be entirely free : Aod the municipal authorities of 
Washington and Georgetown, within their respective 
jurisdictional limits, are hereby empowered and required 
to make all suitable and necessary provision for enforc- 

28 Tho Life of Abram Lincoln. 

ing obedience to tliis section, on the part of both masters 
and apprentices. 

Sec. 4. That all persons now within this District, law- 
fully held as slaves, or now owned by any person or 
persons now resident within said District, shall remain 
such at the will of their respective owners, their heirs 
or legal representatives : Provided that such owner, or 
his legal representatives, may at any time receive from 
the Treasury of the United States the full value of his 
or her slave, of the class in this section mentioned, ujDon 
which such slave shall be forthwith and for ever free : 
And provided further. That the President of the United 
States, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of the 
Treasury, shall be a board for determining the value of 
such slaves as their owners desire to emancipate under 
this section, and whose duty it shall be to hold a session 
for the purpose on the first Monday of each calendar 
month, to receive all applications, and, on satisfactory 
evidence in each case that the person presented for 
valuation is a slave, and of the class in the section men- 
tioned, and is owned by the applicant, shall value such 
slave at his or her full cash value, and give to the appli- 
cant an order on the Treasury for the amount, and also 
to such slave a certificate of freedom. 

Sec. 5. That the municipal authorities of Washington 
and Georgetown, within their respective jurisdictional 
limits, are hereby empowered and required to provide 
active and efficient means to arrest and deliver up to 
their owners all fugitive slaves escaping into said District* 

Sec. 6. That the elective officers within said District 
of Columbia are hereby empowered and required to open 
polls at all the usual places of holding elections, on the 
first Monday of April next, and receive the vote of 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 29 

every free wliite male citizen above the age of twenty- 
one years, having resided within said District for the 
period of one year or more next preceding the time of 
such voting for or against this act, to proceed in taking 
said votes in all respects not herein specified, as at 
elections nnder the municipal laws, and with as little 
delay as possible to transmit correct statements of the 
votes so cast to the President of the United States ; and 
it shall be the duty of the President to count such votes 
immediately, and if a majority of them be found to be 
for this act, to forthwith issue his proclamation giving 
notice of the fact ; and this act shall only be in full 
force and effect on and after the day of such procla- 

Sec. 7. That involuntary servitude for the punish- 
ment of crime, whereof the party shall have been duly 
convicted, shall in nowise be prohibited by this act. 

Sec. 8. That for all purposes of this act, the juris- 
dictional limits of Washington are extended to all parts 
of the District of Columbia not included within the 
present limits of Georgetown." 

Mr. Lincoln then said, '' that he was authorized to say 
that of about fifteen of the leading citizens of the District 
of Columbia to whom this proposition had been submitted, 
there was not one but who approved of such a proposi- 
tion. He did not wish to be misunderstood. He did not 
know whether or not they would vote for his bill on the 
first Monday of April ; but he repeated that out of fifteen 
persons to whom it had been submitted, he had authority 
to say that every one of them desired that some such 
proposition as this should pass." 

While a member of Congress, Mr. Lincoln was elected 

3© The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

to the Whig Nominating Convention of 1848 ; before 
which he advocated the claims of Gen. Taylor to the 
presidency, and after the nomination he was persistent 
in his efforts to accomplish the election of his favorite 
candidate. And, without much conceit, a resemblance 
may in many things be traced between the characters, if 
not the careers, of Eough and Ready and Honest old Abe ; 
they might exchange epithets appropriately. Mr. Lin- 
coln's district gave Taylor a heavier majority than any 
other Whig but Lincoln himself was ever honored by, 
in that quarter of the country ; the result doubtless in 
some measure of his persevering ardor and energy. 

In 1849 he was a candidate before the Illinois legisla- 
ture for United States Senator, but the Democrats were 
in the majority and Gen. Shields was elected over Lin- 
coln ; in 1852 he was a warm supporter, of Gen. Scott, 
and looked upon by the Whigs of Illinois as one of their 
most efficient leaders. 

After his retirement from Congress, Mr. Lincoln took 
no prominent part in politics for a number of years. His 
private affairs claimed his attention ; he had married, his 
family was increasing, but he was not rich, and is not so 
to-day ; he therefore devoted himself very assiduously to 
the pursuit of his profession until 1854, when the repeal of 
the Missouri Compromise, and the consequent wide-s|)read 
agitation throughout the country, drew him again into the 
arena of politics. As might have been predicted by any 
one familiar with his previous sentiments and course, he 
vigorously opposed the Nebraska bill ; he took the stump 
against its author, Mr. Douglas, and battled it with im- 
mense energy. The efforts of its opponents were in some 
measure successful in Illinois, and for the first time a 
majority of the legislature about to elect a United States 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 31 

Senator was unfiworable to the democratic party. Nine- 
tenths of this majority were Whigs, and desired Mr. Lin- 
coln's elevation to the vacant seat in the upper House of 
Congress, but the other tenth had been Democrats and 
were unwilling to cast their votes for a Whig. The 
republican party was then only in its conception ; the 
various elements of an opposition were chaotic, and it 
was necessary to manage skilfully in order to accomplish 
their coalescence. Mr. Lincoln himself earnestly entreated 
his political friends to give up their preference for him. 
He succeeded in inducing them to vote for Judge Trum- 
bull, an anti-Nebraska Democrat, who was thus elected to 
the United States Senate. This was in 1855, and indicates 
both the pre-eminence Mr. Lincoln had won among those 
who had been his allies for so long, and the amount of 
his influence with them ; first in that they should have 
selected him for so high a position over such men as 
Yates, Logan, Grimshaw, and Browning ; and next that 
he should have been able to persuade them to waive that 
preference and cast their votes as he desired. It also 
pointed to the importance he was likely to attain in the 
counsels of the new party, though the absolute leadership 
of that party doubtless then seemed entirely beyond his 
ambition. However, at the first Republican National 
Convention, at Cincinnati, in the following year, the 
delegates from Illinois presented his name for the Vice- 
Presidency, thus signifying the hold he had upon their 
respect and regard. He also headed the Fremont elec- 
toral ticket in that State, at the ensuing election, and 
worked earnestly and persistently in support of the ticket 
during the canvass. 

His name, however popular in Illinois, and well- 
known throughout the entire North-West, did not 

32 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

become national until the furious contest between him- 
self and Douglas in 1858, whose fame has already 
spread throughout the country, but is now destined to 
become still more familiar to all, of every phase of 
politics, who take an interest in public affairs. The 
course of Stephen A. Douglas in Congress had pro- 
voked everywhere the most remarkable difference of 
opinion, and excited in every quarter of the land the 
most intense political strife ; but no where was the agi- 
tation and excitement more intense than in his own 
state of Illinois. The two old parties were both dis- 
rupted ; the Whigs and a portion of the Democrats 
concurred in a reprehension of Mr. Douglas's con- 
duct ; the Administration was, for its own reasons, bit- 
terly opposed to him : while, on the other hand, his 
personal influence and popularity, which had always 
been enormous, the fact that he was regarded by many 
as the destined victim of governmental spite and the 
representative of sturdy political independence, toge- 
ther with the immense strength of party affihations 
and associations, conspired to give him hosts of 
followers. His term of office in the Senate had 
expired, and the legislature was to be elected which 
should appoint his successor. A re-appointment would 
be to him an endorsement by his own State, and a pre- 
sentation to the Democratic party of his claims for the 
Presidency. This fact was thoroughly understood by 
himself, by the politicians of all sorts and grades, and 
by the country. The Eepublicans, therefore, deter- 
mined to make a great struggle, and, if possible, defeat 
him on his own ground. At their nominating conven- 
tion at Springfield, Mr. Lincoln was unanimously desig- 
nated the Kepublican candidate for Senator; he was 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 33 

also desired to stump the State as the representative 
man of the Republican doctrine. 

The contest which ensued was one of the most hardly 
fought that has ever occurred in our political history. 
The State was stumped with extraordinary thorough- 
ness, botli candidates taking the field, arguing the 
whole matter with all the powers of logic, and wit, and 
eloquence at their command, while the country looked 
on eagerly for the result, and the population of the 
state attended to hear the arguments of the two 
rivals, and determine for themselves how they should 
act. Each had warm friends ; each was emphatically 
the representative of a great party and of a great prin- 
ciple ; personal feelings were concerned, and a great 
public question of the very highest consequence was at 
issue. What gave the strife a very peculiar aspect, im- 
parting additional intensity and interest, was the fact that 
the two candidates repeatedly discussed the mooted ques- 
tions in each other's presence. The ability manifested by 
each on these occasions was marked, and is acknow- 
ledged by his opponent. It is, in fact, impossible 
to imagine any stronger illustration of Democratic insti- 
tutions, any more remarkable feature of American life 
and character, than this appeal to the people by the 
champions of two great opposing parties. Instead of 
wheedling at courts, or intriguing in cabinets, or writing 
diplomatic notes, or bargaining for office and emolu- 
ments, or even arguing in senates, and convincing 
educated and talented assemblies ; here were two men^ 
both sprung from the people, both possessed of 
remarkable energy of character, both elevated to the 
leadership of their respective parties ; one had long been 

prominent in the councils of the nation, had been often 


34 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

an aspirant for the highest position in the country ; he had 
initiated a measure which provoked the wildest and pro- 
foundest opposition of any political act in this century ; 
he had, nevertheless, succeeded in carrying that mea- 
sure, and now he came to the j^eople, the rough, com- 
mon people of Western Illinois, the farmers and back- 
woodsmen, to support him, to endorse him, to main- 
tain him. Bv their verdict he must stand or fall ; to 
them he argued his case ; before them personally he 
pleaded his cause. His antagonist also was present, and 
accused him to his fiice of political crimes ; and day 
after day, and night after night, in town after town, tlie 
competitors strove before the mighty jury of the people 
for the mastery. No struggle in the Olympic games, no 
contest in senate chambers of ancient Kome, or in par- 
liament of modern Britain, was ever more remarkable, 
or listened to or looked upon by more attentive crowds. 
From June to November the canvass continued; at 
seven different places the debate was held between the 

At Springfield, after his nomination, which was 
singular, because senators, not being elected by the 
people, are not usually nominated by conventions, — 
at Springfield, Mr. Lincoln read a speech, which had 
been carefully prepared, and which was accepted 
throughout the country, by his party, as an exposition 
of the views and aims of Republicanism. It follows 
here, and those who wish to be thoroughly informed of 
the peculiarities of the party of which Abram Lincoln 
is now standard-bearer and chief, w^ill do well to study 
its pages. This speech is also remarkable as containing 
the famous declaration which preceded even that made 
by Senator Seward, at Rochester, that " a house divided 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 35 

against itself canuot stand." What Lincoln really 
said, and what he meant can now be directly ascer- 


Springfield, June 1'7, 1858. 

Mk. President, and Gentlemen of the Convention : 
K we could first know where we are, and whither we 
are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how 
to do it. We are now far into the fifth year, since a 
policy was initiated with the avowed object, and confi- 
dent promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation. 
Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has 
not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In 
my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have 
been reached and passed. " A house divided against 
itself cannot stand." I believe this government cannot 
endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not 
expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the 
house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divi- 
ded. It will become all one thing, or all the other. 
Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the farther 
spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall 
rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate 
extinction ; or its advocates will push it forward, till it 
shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well 
as new — North as well as South. 

Have we no tendency to the latter condition ? 

Let any one who doubts, carefully contemplate that 
now almost complete legal combination — piece of 
machinery, so to speak — compounded of the JN'ebraska 
doctrine, and the Dred Scott decision. Let him con- 
sider not only what work the machinery is adapted to 
do, and how well adapted ; but also, let him study the 
history of its construction, and trace, if he can, or rather 
fail, if he can, to trace the evidences of design, and con- 

36 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

cert of action, among its chief arcliitects, from the 

The new year of 1854: found slavery excluded from 
more than half the States by State Constitutions, and 
from most of the national territory by Congressional 
prohibition. Four days later, commenced the struggle 
which ended in repealing that Congressional prohibi- 
tion. This openea all the national territory to slavery, 
and was the first point gained. 

But, so far, Congress only had acted ; and an indorse- 
ment by the people, real or apparent, was indispensa- 
ble, to save the point already gained, and give chance 
for more. 

This necessity had not been overlooked ; but had 
been provided for, as well as might be, in the notable 
argument of " squatter sovereignty," otherwise called 
" sacred right of self-government," which latter })hrase, 
though expressive of the only rightful basis of any 
government, was so perverted in this attempted use of 
it as to amount to just this : That if any one man choose 
to enslave another^ no tliird man shall be allowed to 
object. That argument was incorporated into the 
Nebraska bill itself, in the language wdiich follows : 
" It being the true intent and meaning of this act not 
to legislate slavery into any Territory or State, nor to 
exclude it therefrom ; but to leave the people thereof 
perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic insti- 
tutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitu- 
tion of the United States." Then opened the roar of 
loose declamation in favor of " Squatter Sovereignty," 
and "sacred right of self-government." "But," said 
oj)position members, " let us amend the bill so as to 
expressly declare that the people of the Territory may 
exclude slavery." " ISTot we," said the friends of the 
measure ; and down they voted the amendment. 

While the JSTebraska bill was passing through Con- 
gress, a law case involving the question of a negro's 
freedom, by reason of his owner having voluntarily 
taken him first into a free State and then into a Terri- 
tory covered by the Congressional prohibition, and 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 37 

held him as a slave for a long time in each, was passing 
through the U. S. Circuit Court for the District of 
Missouri ; and both Nebraska bill and law suit were 
brought to a decision in the same month of May, 1854. 
The negro's name was " Dred Scott," which name now 
designate's the decision finally made in the case. Before 
the then next Presidential election, the law case came 
to, and was argued in the Supreme Court of the United 
States ; but the decision of it was deferred until after 
the election. Still, before the election. Senator Trum- 
bull, on the floor of the Senate, requested the leading 
advocate of the Nebraska bill to state his opinion 
whether the people of a Territory can constitutionally 
exclude slavery from their limits ; and the latter 
answers : ^' That is a question for the Supreme Court." 

The election came. Mr. Buchanan was elected, and 
the endorsement, such as it was, secured. That was the 
second point gained. The endorsement, however, fell 
short of a clear popular majority by nearly four hun- 
dred thousand votes, and so, perhaps, was not over- 
whelmingly reliable and satisfactory. The outgoing 
President, in his last annual message, as impressively 
as possible echoed back upon the people the weight and 
authority of the endorsement. The Supreme Court met 
again ; did not announce their decision, but ordered a 
re-argument. The Presidential inauguration came, and 
still no decison of the court ; but the incoming Presi- 
dent in his inaugural address, fervently exhorted the 
people to abide by the forthcoming decision, whatever 
it might be. Then, in a few days, came the decision. 

The reputed author of the Nebraska bill finds an 
early occasion to make a speech at this capital endorsing 
the Dred Scott decision, and vehemently denouncing all 
opposition to it. The new President, too, seizes the 
early occasion of the Silliman letter to endorse and 
strongly construe that decision, and to express his 
astonishment that any different view had ever been 
entertained ! 

At length a squabble s^^rings up between the Presi- 
dent and the author of the Nebraska bill, on the mere 

38 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

question of fact, whether the Lecompton Constitution 
was or was not, in any just sense, made by the people 
of Kansas ; and in that quarrel the latter declares that 
all he wants is a fair vote for the people, and that he 
cares not whether slavery be voted dow7i or voted up. 
I do not understand his declaration that he cares not 
whether slavery be voted down or voted up, to be intended 
by him other than as an apt definition of the policy he 
would impress upon the public mind — the principle for 
which he declares he has suffered, so mucli, and is ready 
to suffer to the end. And well may he cling to that 
principle. If he has any parental feeling, well may he 
cling to it. That principle is the only shred left of his 
original Nebraska doctrine. Under the Dred Scott 
decision, " squatter sovereignty " squatted out of exist- 
ence, tumbled down like temporary scaffolding — like 
the mould at the foundry, served through one blast and 
fell back into loose sand — helped to carry an election, 
and then was kicked to the winds. His late joint 
struggle with the Kepublicans, against the Lecompton 
Constitution, involves nothing of the original Nebraska 
doctrine. That struggle was made on a point — the 
right of a people to make their own constitution — upon 
which he and the Republicans have never differed. 

The several points of the Dred Scott decision, in con- 
nection with Senator Douglas's '' care not " policy, 
constitute the piece of machinery, in its present state of 
advancement. This was the third point gained. The 
working points of that machinery are : 

First, That no negro slave, imported as such from 
Africa, and no descendant of such slave, can ever be a 
citizen of any State, in the sense of that term as used 
in the Constitution of the United States. This point is 
made in order to deprive the negro, in every possible 
event, of the benefit of that provision of the United 
States Constitution, which declares that " The citizens 
of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and 
immunities of citizens in the several States.'' 

Secondly, That " subject to the Constitution of the 
United States," neither Congress nor a Territorial Legis- 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 39 

lature can exclude Slavery from any United States ter- 
ritory. This point is made in order that individual men 
may till up the Territories with slaves, without danger 
of losing them as property, and thus to enhance the 
chances of permanency to the institution through all 
the future. 

Thirdly, That whether the holding a negro in actual 
slavery in a free State, makes him free, as against the 
holder, the United States courts will not decide, but will 
leave to be decided by the courts of any slave State the 
negro may be forced into by the master. This point is 
made, not to be pressed immediately ; but if acquiesced 
in for awhile, and apparently endorsed by the people at 
an election, then to sustain the logical conclusion that 
what Dred Scott's master might lawfully do with Dred 
Scott, in the free state of Illinois, every other master 
may lawfully do with any other one, or one thousand 
slaves, in Illinois, or in any other free state. 

Auxiliary to all this, and working hand in hand with 
it, the Nebraska doctrine, or what is left of it, is to 
educate and mould public opinion, at least Northern 
public opinion, not to care whether slavery is voted 
down or voted up. This shows exactly where we now 
are ; and partially, also, whither we are tending. 

It will throw additional light on the latter, to go 
back, and run the mind over the string of historical 
facts already stated. Several things will now appear 
less dark and mysterious than they did when they were 
transpiring. The people were to be left " perfectly 
free," "subject only to the constitution." What the 
constitution had to do with it, outsiders could not then 
see. Plainly enough now, it was an exactly litted niche, 
for the Dred Scott decision to afterward come in, and 
declare the perfect freedom of the people to be just no 
freedom at all. Why was the amendment, expressly 
declaring the right of the people, voted down ? Plainly 
enough now : the adoption of it would have spoiled the 
niche for the Dred Scott decision. Why was the court 
decision held up ? Why even a senator's individual 
opinion withheld, till after the Presidential election ? 

40 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

Plainly enongli now : the speaking out then would have 
damaged the perfectly free aro^ument upon which the 
election was to be carried. Why the outgoing Presi- 
dent's felicitation on the endorsement ? Why the delay 
of a re-argument ? "Why the incoming President's ad- 
vance exliortation in favor of the decision? These 
things look like the cautious patting and petting of a 
spirited horse preparatory to mounting him, when it is 
dreaded that he may give the rider a fall. And why the 
hasty after-endorsement of the decision by the President 
and others? 

We cannot absolutely know that all these exact adap- 
tations are the result of preconcert. But when we see 
a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we 
know have been gotten out at different times and 
places and by different workmen — Stephen, Franklin, 
Eoger and James, for instance — and when we see these 
timbers joined together, and see they exactly make the 
frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortices 
exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of 
the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective 
places, and not a piece too many or too few — not omit- 
ting even scaffolding — or, if a single piece be lacking, 
we see the place in the frame exactly fitted and prepared 
yet to bring such piece in — in such a case, we find it 
impossible not to believe that Stephen and Franklin 
and Poger and James all understood one another from 
the beginning, and all worked upon a common plan or 
draft drawn up before the first blow was struck. 

It should not be overlooked that, by the Nebraska 
bill, the people of a State as well as Territory, were to 
be left "perfectly free," "subject only to the Constitu- 
tion." Why mention a State ? They were legislating 
for Territories, and not for or about States. Certainly the 
people of a State are and ought to be subject to the 
Constitution of the United States ; but why is mention 
of this lugged into this merely Territorial law ? Why 
are tlie people of a Territory and the people of a State 
therein lumped together, and their relation to the Con- 
stitution therein treated as being precisely the same ? 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 41 

While the opinion of the court, hy Chief Justice Taney, 
in the Dred Scott case, and the separate opinions of all 
the concurring Judges, expressly declare that tlie Con- 
stitution of the United States neither permits Congress 
nor a Territorial Legislature to exclude slavery from any 
United States Territory, they all omit to declare whether 
or not the same Constitution permits a State, or the 
people of a State, to exclude it. Possibly^ this is a 
mere omission ; but who can be quite sure, if McLean 
or Curtis had soughi to get into the opinion a declara- 
tion of unlimited power in the people of a State to ex- 
clude slavery from their limits, just as Chase and Mace 
sought to get such declaration, in behalf of the people 
of a Territory, into the Nebraska bill ; — I ask, who can 
be quite sure that it would not have been voted down 
in the one case as it had been in the other ? The near- 
est approach to the point of declaring the power of a 
State over slavery, is made by Judge ITelson. He 
approaches it more than once, using the precise idea, 
and almost the language, too, of the Nebraska act. On 
one occasion, his exact language is, " except in cases 
where the power is restrained by the Constitution of 
the United States, the law of the State is supreme over 
the subject of slavery within its jurisdiction." In what 
cases the power of the States is so restrained by the 
United States Constitution, is left an open question, pre- 
cisely as the same question, as to the restraint on the 
power of the Territories, was left open in the Nebraska 
act. Put this and that together, and we have another 
nice little niche, which we may, ere long, see filled with 
another Supreme Court decision, declaring that the Con- 
stitution of the United States does not permit a State to 
exclude slavery from its limits. And this may specially 
be expected if the doctrine of '' care not whether 
slavery be voted down or voted up," shall gain upon 
the public mind sufficiently to give promise that such a 
decision can be maintained when made. 

Such a decision is all that slavery now lacks of being 
alike lawful in all the States. Welcome, or unwelcome, 
such decision is probably coming, and will soon be upon 

42 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

us, unless the power of the present political dynasty 
shall be met and overthrown. We shall lie down 
pleasantly dreaming that the people of Missouri are on 
the verge of making their State free, and we shall awake 
to the reality instead, that the Supreme Court has made 
Illinois a slave State. To meet and overthrow the 
power of that dynasty, is the work now before all those 
who would prevent that consummation. That is what 
we have to do. How can we best do it ? 

There are those who denounce us openly to their own 
friends, and yet whisper us softly, that Senator Douglas 
is the aptest instrument there is with which to affect 
that object. They wish us to infer all, from the fact 
that he now has a little quarrel with the present head 
of the dynasty ; and that he has regularly voted with 
us on a single point, upon which he and we have never 
differed. Tliey remind us that he is a great man, and 
that the largest of us are very small ones. Let this be 
granted. But " a living dog is better than a dead lion." 
Judge Douglas, if not a dead lion, for this work, is at 
least a caged and toothless one. How can he oppose 
the advances of slavery ? He don't care anything about 
it. His avowed mission is impressing the " public 
heart " to care nothing about it, A leading Douglas 
democratic newspaper thinks Douglas's superior talent 
will be needed to resist the revival of the African slave 
trade. Does Douglas believe an effort to revive that 
trade is approaching % He has not said so. Does 
he really think so ? But if it is, how can he resist it? 
For years he has labored to prove it a sacred right of 
white men to take negro slaves into the new Territories. 
Can he possibly show that it is a less sacred right to buy 
them where they can be bought cheapest ? And un- 
questionably they can be bought cheaper in Africa than 
in Virginia. He has done all in his power to reduce 
the whole question of slavery to one of a mere right of 
property ; and as such, how can he oppose the foreign 
slave trade — how can he refuse that trade in that " pro- 
perty " shall be " perfectly free " — unless he does it as 
a protection to the home production ? And as the home 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 43 

producers will probably not ask the protection, he will 
be wholly without a ground of opposition. 


Delivered in Springfield^ Saturday, ^July It, 1858. 

Fellow-citizens : Another election, which is deemed 
an important one, is approaching, and, as I suppose, the 
Kepublican party will, without much difficulty, elect 
their State ticket. Bat in regard to the Legislature, we, 
the Republicans, labor under some disadvantages. In 
the first place, we have a Legislature to elect upon an 
apportionment of the representation made several years 
ago, when the proportion of the population was far 
greater in the South (as compared with the North) than 
it now is ; and inasmuch as our opponents hold almost 
entire sway in the South, and we a correspondingly large 
majority in the Korth, the fact that we are now to be 
represented as we were years ago, when the population 
was different, is, to us, a very great disadvantage. We 
had in the year 1855, according to law, a census or enu- 
meration of the inhabitants, taken for the purpose of a 
new apportionment of representation. We know what 
a fair apportionment of representation upon that census 
would give us. We know that it could not, if fairly 
made, fail to give the Republican party from six to ten 
more members of the Legislature than they can probably 
get as the law now stands. It so happened at the last 
session of the Legislature, that our opponents, holding 
the control of both, branches of the Legislature, steadily 
refused to give us such an apportionment as we were 
rightly entitled to have upon the census already taken. 
The Legislature steadily refused to give us such an ap- 
portionment as we were rightfully entitled to have upon 
the census taken of the population of the State. The 
Legislature would pass no bill upon that subject, except 

44 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

such as was at least as unfair to us as tlie old one, and in 
wliich, in some instances, two men in tlie Democratic 
regions were allowed to go as far toward sending a mem- 
ber to the Legislature as three were in the EeiDublican 
regions. Comparison was made at the time as to repre- 
sentative and senatorial districts, which completely de- 
monstrated that such was the fact. Such a bill was 
passed and tendered to the Eepublican Governor for his 
signature ; but principally for the reasons I have stated, 
he withheld his approval, and the bill fell without be- 
coming a law. 

Another disadvantage under which we labor is, that 
there are one or two Democratic Senators who will be 
members of the next Legislature, and will vote for the 
election of Senator, who are holding over in districts in 
which we could, on all reasonable calculation, elect men 
of our own, if we only had the chance of an election. 
When we consider that there are but twenty -five Sena- 
tors in the Senate, taking two from the side where they 
rightfully belong and adding them to the other, is to us a 
disadvantage not to be lightly regarded. Still, so it is ; 
we have this to contend with. Perhaps there is no 
ground of complaint on our part. In attending to the 
many things involved in the last general election for Pre- 
sident, Governor, Auditor, Treasurer, Superintendent of 
Public Instruction, Members of Congress, of the Legisla- 
ture, County Officers, and so on, we allowed these things 
to happen by want of sufficient attention, and we have 
no cause to complain of our adversaries, so far as this 
matter is concerned. But we have some cause to com- 
plain of the refusal to give us a fair apportionment. 

There is still another disadvantage under which we 
labor, and to which I will ask your attention. It arises 
out of the relative positions of the two persons who stand 
before the State as candidates for the Senate. Senator 
Douglas is of world-wide renown. All the anxious 
politicians of his party, or who have been of his party 
for years past, have been looking upon him as certainly, 
at no distant day, to be the President of the United 
States. They have seen in his round, jolly, fruitful face, 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 45 

post-offices, land-offices, marshalsliips and cabinet appoint- 
ments, cliargeships and foreign missions, bursting and 
sprouting out in wonderful exuberance, ready to be laid 
hold of by their greedy hands. And as they have been 
gazing upon this attractive picture so long, they cannot, 
in the little distraction that has taken place in the party, 
bring themselves to give up the charming hope ; but with, 
greedier anxiety they rush about him, sustain him, and 
give him marches, triumphal entries, and receptions be- 
yond what even in the days of his highest prosperity 
they could have brought about in his favor. On the 
contrary, nobody has ever expected me to be President. 
In my poor, lean, lank fkce, nobody has ever seen that 
any cabbages were sprouting out. These are disadvan- 
tages all, taken together, that the Eepublicans labor under. 
We have to fight this battle upon principle, and upon 
principle alone. I am, in a certain sense, made the 
standard-bearer in behalf of the Republicans. I was 
made so merely because there had to be some one so 
placed — I being in nowise preferable to any other one 
of the twenty-five — perhaps a hundred we have in the 
Republican ranks. Then I say I wish it to be distinctly 
understood and borne in mind, that we have to fight this 
battle without many — perhaps without any — of the ex- 
ternal aids which are brought to bear against us. So I 
hope those with whom I am surrounded have principle 
enough to nerve themselves for the task and leave no- 
thing undone, that can be fairly done, to bring about the 
right result. 

After Senator Douglas left Washington, as his move- 
ments were made known by the public prints, he tarried 
a considerable time in the city of New York ; and it was 
heralded that, like another Napoleon, he was lying by 
and framing the plan of his- campaign. It was telegraphed 
to Washington City, and published in the Union^ that 
he was framing his plan for the purpose of going to 
Illinois to pounce upon and annihilate the treasonable 
and disunion speech which Lincoln had made here on the 
16th of June. Now, I do suppose that the Judge really 
spent some time in New York maturing the plan of the 

46 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

campaign, as his friends heralded for him. I have been 
able, by noting his movements since his arrival in Illinois, 
to discover evidences confirmatory of that allegation. I 
think I have been able to see what are the material points 
of that plan. I will, for a little while, ask your attention 
to some of them. What I shall point out, though not 
showing the whole plan, are, nevertheless, the main 
points, as I suppose. 

They are not very numerous. The first is Popular 
Sovereignty. The second and third are attacks upon my 
speech made on the 16th of June. Out of these three 
points — drawing within the range of popular sovereignty 
the question of the Lecompton Constitution — he makes 
his principal assault. Upon these his successive speeches 
are substantially one and the same. On this matter of 
popular sovereignty I wish to be a little careful. Auxi- 
liary to these main points, to be sure, are their thunder- 
ings of cannon, their marching and music, their fizzle- 
gigs and fire- works ; but I will not waste time with them. 
They are but the little trappings of the campaign. 

Coming to the substance — the first point — "popular 
sovereignty." It is to be labelled upon the cars in which 
he travels; put upon the hacks he rides in; to be 
flaunted upon the arches he passes under, and the ban- 
ners which wave over him. It is to be dished up in as 
many varieties as a French cook can produce soups from 
potatoes. Kow, as this is so great a staple of the plan 
of the campaign, it is worth while to examine it care- 
fully ; and if we examine only a very little, and do not 
allow ourselves to be misled, we shall be able to see that 
the whole thing is the most arrant Quixotism that was 
ever enacted before a commumt}^ What is the matter 
of popular sovereignty? The first thing, in order to un- 
derstand it, is to get a good definition of what it is, and 
after that to see how it is applied. 

I suppose almost every one knows that, in this contro- 
versy, whatever has been said has had reference to the 
question of negro slavery. We have not been in a con- 
troversy about the right of the people to govern them- 
selves in the ordinary matters of domestic concern in the 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 4Y 

States and Territories. Mr. Buchanan, in one of his 
late messages (I think when he sent up the Lecompton 
Constitution), urged that the main point to which the 
public attention had been directed, was not in regard to 
the great variety of small domestic matters, but was 
directed to the question of negro slavery ; and he asserts, 
that if the people had had a fair chance to vote on that 
question, there was no reasonable ground of objection 
in regard to minor questions. Now, while I think that 
the people had not had given, or offered them, a fair 
chance upon that slavery question; still, if there had 
been a fair submission to a vote upon that main question, 
the President's proposition would have been true to the 
uttermost. Hence, when hereafter I speak of popular 
sovereignty, I wish to be understood as applying what I 
say to the question of slavery only, not to other minor 
domestic matters of a Territory or a State. 

Does Judge Douglas, when he says that several of the 
past years of his life have been devoted to the question 
of " popular sovereignty," and that all the remainder of 
his life shall be devoted to it, does he mean to say that 
he has been devoting his life to securing to the people of 
the Territories the right to exclude slavery from the 
Territories ? If he means so to say, he means to deceive ; 
because he and every one knows that the decision of the 
Supreme Court, which he approves and makes especial 
ground of attack upon me for disapproving, forbids the 
people off a Territory to exclude slavery. This covers 
the whole ground, from the settlement of a Territory till 
it reaches the degree of maturity entitling it to form a 
State Constitution. So far as all that ground is con- 
cerned, the Judge is not sustaining popular sovereignty, 
but absolutely opposing it. He sustains the decision 
which declares that the popular will of the Territories 
has no constitutional power to exclude slavery during 
their territorial existence. This being so, the period of 
time from the first settlement of a Territory till it reaches 
the point of forming a State Constitution, is not the 
thing that the Judge has fought for or is fighting for, but 
on the contrary, he has fought for, and is fighting for, the 

48 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

thing that annihilates and crushes out that same popular 

Well, so much being disposed of, what is left ? Why, 
he is contending for the right of the people, when they 
come to make a State Constitution, to make it for them- 
selves, and precisely as best suits themselves. I say 
again, that is Quixotic. I defy contradiction when I 
declare that the Judge can find no one to oppose him on 
that proposition. I repeat, there is nobody opposing that 
proposition on principle. Let me not be misunderstood. 
I know tliat, with reference to the Lecompton Constitu- 
tion, I may be misunderstood ; but when you understand 
me correctly, my proposition will be true and accurate. 
Nobody is opposing, or has opposed, the right of the 
people, when they form a Constitution, to form it for 
themselves. Mr. Buchanan and his friends have not 
done it; they, too, as well as the Republicans and the 
Anti-Lecompton Democrats, have not done it; but, on 
the contrary, they together have insisted on the right of 
the people to form a Constitution for themselves. The 
difference between the Buchanan men on the one hand, 
and the Douglas men and the Republicans on the other, 
has not been on a question of principle, but on a ques- 
tion oi fact. 

The dispute was upon the question of fact, whether 
the Lecompton Constitution had been fairly formed by 
the people or not. Mr. Buchanan and his friends have 
not contended for the contrary principle any more than 
the Douglas men or the Republicans. They have insisted 
that whatever of small irregularities existed in getting 
up the Lecompton Constitution, were such as happen in 
the settlement of all new Territories. The question was, 
was it a fair emanation of the peoj)le? It was a ques- 
tion of fact and not of principle. As to the principle, 
all were agreed. Judge Douglas voted with the Repub- 
licans upon that matter of fact. 

He and they, by their voices and votes, denied that 
it was a fair emanation of the pex)ple. The Admhiis- 
tration affirmed that it was. With respect to the 
evidence bearing upon that question of fact, I readily 1 


The Life of Abram Lincoln. 49 

agree that Judge Douglas and the Hepiihlicans had the 
right on their side, and that the Administration was 
wrong. But I state again that, as a matter of princi- 
ple, there is no dispute upon the right of a people in a 
Territory, merging into a State to form a Constitution 
for themselves without outside interference from any 
quarter. This being so, what is Judge Douglas going 
to spend his hfe for ? Is he going to spend his life in 
maintaining a principle that nobody on earth opposes ? 
Does he expect to stand up in majestic dignity, and 
go through his apotheosis and become a god, in the 
maintaining of a principle which neither man nor 
mouse in all God's creation is opposing ? Now some- 
thing in regard to the Lecompton Constitution more 
specially ; for I pass from this other question of popular 
sovereignty as the most arrant humbug that has ever 
been attempted on an intelligent community. 

As to the Lecompton Constitution, I have already 
said that on the question of fact as to whether it was a 
fair emanation of the people or not. Judge Douglas 
with the Republicans and some Americans had greatly 
the argument against the Administration ; and while I 
repeat this, I wish to know what there is in the opposi- 
tion of Judge Douglas to the Lecompton Constitution 
that entitles him to be considered the only opponent to 
it — as being j9<2r excellence the very quintessence of that 
opposition. I agree to the rightfulness of his opposi- 
tion, lie in the Senate and his class of men there 
formed the number three and no more. In the House 
of Kepresentatives his class of men — the Anti-Lecomp- 
ton Democrats — formed a number of about twenty. It 
took one hundred and twenty to defeat the measure, 
against one hundred and twelve. Of the votes of that 
one hundred and twentv, Judo^e Douo^las's friends fur- 
nished twenty, to add to which there were six Americans 
and ninety-four Republicans. I do not say that I am 
precisely accurate in their numbers, but I am sufHcient- 
ly so for any use I am making of it. 

Why is it that twenty shall be entitled to all the 
credit of doing that work, and the hundred none of it ? 


5*0 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

Why, if, as Judge Doiis^las says,, the honor is to be 
divided and due credit is to be given to other parties, 
why is just so much given as is consonant with the 
wishes, the interests and advancement of the twenty ? 
My understanding is, when a common job is done, or a 
" common enterprise prosecuted, if I put in five dollars 
to your one, I have a right to take out five dollars to 
your one. But he does not so understand it. He 
declares the dividend of credit for defeating Lecompton 
upon a basis which seems unprecedented and incom- 

Let us see. Lecompton in the raw was defeated. It 
afterward took a sort of cooked up shape, and was 
passed in the English bill. It is said by the Judge that 
the defeat was a good and proper thing. If it was a 
good thing, why is he entitled to more credit than 
others, for the performance of that good act, unless 
there was something in the antecedents of the Repub- 
licans that might induce every one to expect them to 
join in that good work, and at the same time, something 
leading them to doubt that he would ? Does he place 
his superior claim to credit, on the ground that he per- 
formed a good act which was never expected of him ? 
He says I have a proneness for quoting scripture. If I 
should do so now, it occurs that perhaps he places him- 
self somewhat upon the ground of the parable of the 
lost sheep which went astray upon the mountains, and 
when the owner of the hundred sheep found the one 
that was lost, and threw it upon his shoulders, and 
came home rejoicing, it was said that there was more 
rejoicing over the one sheep that was lost and had been 
found, than over the ninety and nine in the fold. The 
application is made by the Saviour in this parable, 
thus : " Yerily, I say unto you, there is more rejoicing 
in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, than over 
ninety and nine just persons that need no repent- 

And now, if the Judge claims the benefit of this 
parable, let hir/i repent. Let him not come up here 
and say : '' I am the only person ; and you are the 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 51 

ninety-nine sinners !" Repentance before forgiveness 
is a pi'ovision of the Chrij^tian system, and on that con- 
dition alone will the Republicans grant his forgive- 

How will lie prove that we have ever occupied a 
different position in regard to the Lecompton Constitu- 
tion or any principle in it? He says he did not make 
his opposition on the ground as to whether it was a free 
or slave Constitution, and he would have you under- 
stand that the Re]niblicans made their opposition 
because it ultimately became a slave Constitution. To 
make proof in favor of himself on this point, he re- 
minds us that he opposed Lecompton before the vote 
was taken declaring whether the State w^as to be free 
or slave. But he forgets to say that our Republican 
Senator, Trumbull, made a speech against Lecompton 
even before he did. 

Why did he oppose it? Partly, as he declares, 
because the members of the Convention who framed it 
were not fairly elected by the people ; that the people 
were not allowed to vote unless they had been registered; 
and that the people of whole counties, in some instan- 
ces, were not registered. For these reasons he declares 
the Constitution was not an emanation, in any true 
sense, from the people. He also has an additional 
objection as to the mode of submitting the Constitution 
back to the people. But bearing on the question of 
whether the delegates were fairly elected, a speech of 
his, made something more than twelve months ago, 
from this stand, becomes important. It was made a 
little while before the election of the delegates who 
made Lecompton. In that speech he declared there 
was every reason to hope and believe the election would 
be fair ; and if any one failed to vote, it would be his 
own culpable fault. 

I, a few days after, made a sort of answer to that 
speech. In that answer, I made substantially, the very 
argument with which he combatted his Lecompton 
adversaries in the Senate last winter. I pointed to the 
facts that the people could not vote without being regis- 

52 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

tered, and that the time for registering had gone hj. I 
commented on it as wonderful that Judge Douglas 
could be ignorant of these facts, wliich every one else 
in the nation so well knew. 

I now pass from popular sovereignty and Lecompton. 
I may have occasion to refer to one or both. 

When he was preparing his plan of campaign, Ka- 
poleon-like, in Kew York, as appears by two speeches 
I have heard him deliver since his arrival in Illinois, 
he gave special attention to a speech of mine, delivered 
here on the 16th of June last. He says that he care- 
fully read that speech. He told us that at Chicago a 
week ago last night, and he repeated it at Bloomington 
last night. Doubtless, he repeated it again to-day, 
though I did dot hear him. In the two first places — 
Chicago and Bloomington — I heard him ; to-day I did 
not. He said he had carefully examined that speech ; 
whe?i, he did not say; but there is no reasonable doubt 
it was when he was in IN'ew York preparing his plan of 
campaign. I am glad he did read it carefully. He 
says it was evidently prepared with great care. I 
freely admit that it was prepared with care. I claim 
not to be more free from errors than others — perhaps 
scarcely so much ; but I was careful not to put any- 
thing in that speech as a matter of fact, or make any 
inferences which did not appear to be true, and fully 
warrantable. If I had made any mistake I was will- 
ing to be corrected ; if I had drawn any inference in 
regard to Judge Douglas, or any one else, which was 
not warranted, I was fully prepared to modify it as 
soon as discovered. I planted myself upon the truth 
and the truth only, so far as I knew it, or could be 
brought to know it. 

Having made that speech with the most kindly 
feelings toward Judge Douglas, as manifested therein, 
I was gratified when I found that he had carefully 
examined it, and had detected no error of fact, nor 
any inference against him, nor any misrepresentations, 
of which he thought fit to complain. In neither of the 
two speeches I have mentioned, did he make any such 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 5*3 

complaint. I will thank any one who will inform me 
that lie, in his speech to-day, pointed out anything I 
had stated, respecting him, as being erroneous. I pre- 
sume there is no such thino;. I have reason to be 
gratified that the care and caution used in that speech, 
left it so that he, most of all others interested in dis- 
covering error, has not been aVjle to point out one thing 
against him which he could say was wrong. He seizes 
upon the doctrines he supposes to be included in that 
speech, and declares that upon them will turn the issues 
of this campaign. He then quotes, or attempts to 
quote, from my speech. I will not say that he wilfully 
misquotes, but he does fail to quote accurately. His 
attempt at quoting is from a passage which I believe I 
can quote accurately from memory. I shall make the 
quotation now, with some comments upon it, as I have 
already said, in order that the Judge shall be left 
entirely without excuse for misrepresenting me. I do so 
now, as I hope, for the last time. I do this in great 
caution, in order that if he repeats his misrepresenta- 
tion, it shall be plain to all that he does so wilfully. 
If, after all, he still persists, I shall be compelled to 
reconstruct the course I have marked out for myself, 
and draw upon such humble resources as I have, for a 
new course, better suited to the real exigencies of the 
case. I set out, in this campaign, with the intention of 
conducting it strictly as a gentletnan, in substance at 
least, if not in the outside polish. The latter I shall 
never be, but that which constitutes the inside of a 
gentleman I hope I understand, and am not less in- 
clined to practice than others. It was my purpose and 
expectation that this canvass would be conducted upon 
principle, and with fairness on both sides, and it shall 
not be my fault if this purpose and expectation shall be 
given up. 

He charges, in substance, that I invite a war of sec- 
tions ; that I propose all the local institutions of the 
different States shall become consolidated and uniform. 
"What is there in the language of that speech which 
expresses such purpose, or bears such construction ? I 

54 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

liiive asfaiii and ao:ain said that I would not enter into 
any of the States to disturb the institution of shivery. 
Judge Douglas said, at Bloomington, that I used lan- 
guaiz:e most able and ingenious for concealing what I 
really meant ; and that while I had protested against 
entering into the slave States, I nevertheless did mean 
to go on tlie banks of the Ohio and throw missiles into 
Kentucky, to disturb them in their domestic institutions. 

I said, in that speech, and I meant no more, that the 
institution of slavery ought to be placed in the very 
attitude where the framers of this Government placed 
it and left it. I do not understand that the framers of 
our Constitution left the people of the free States in the 
attitude of tiring bombs or shells into the slave States. 
I was not using that passage for the purpose for which 
he infers I did use it. I said : " We are now advanced 
into the fifth year since a policy was created for the 
avowed object and with the confident promise of putting 
an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of 
that policy that agitation has not only not ceased, but 
has constantly augmented. In my opinion it will not 
cease till a crisis shall have been reached and passed. 
' A house divided against itself cannot stand.' I believe 
that this Government cannot endure permanently half 
slave and half free. It will become all one thing or all 
the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest 
the further spread of it, and place it where the public 
mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course 
of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it for- 
ward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, 
old as well as new, North as well as South." 

]^ow you all see, from that quotation, I did not ex- 
press mj wish on anything. In that passage I indicated 
no wish or purpose of my own ; I simply expressed my 
expectation. Cannot the Judge perceive a distinction 
between a purj}Ose and an exjyectatioiif I have often 
expressed an expectation to die, but I have never 
expressed a wish to die. I said at Chicago, and now 
repeat, that I am quite aware this Government has 
endured, half slave and half free, for eighty-two years. 

The Life of Abram Lincoln^ 55 

I understand tliat little bit of history. I expressed the 
opinion I did, because I perceived — or thought I per- 
ceived — a new set of causes introduced. I did say at 
Chicago, in my speech there, that I do wish to see the 
spread of slavery arrested, and to see it placed where 
the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the 
course of ultimate extinction. I said that because I 
supposed, when the public mind shall rest in that belief, 
we shall have peace on the slavery question. I have 
■believed — and now believe — the public mind did rest 
on that belief up to the introduction of the Nebraska 

Although I have ever been opposed to slavery, so far 
I rested in the hope and belief that it was in the course 
of ultimate extinction. For that reason it had been a 
minor question with me. I might have been mistaken ; 
but I had believed, and now believe, that the whole 
public mind, that is, the mind of the great majority, 
had rested in that belief up to the repeal of the Mis- 
souri Compromise. But upon that event, I became 
convinced that either I had been resting in a de- 
lusion, or the institution was being placed on a new 
basis — a basis for making it perpetual, national and 
universal. I believe that bill to be the beginning of a 
conspiracy for that purpose. So believing, I have since 
then considered that question a paramount one. So 
believing, I thought the public mind will never rest till 
the power of Congress to restrict the spread of it shall 
again be acknowledged and exercised on the one hand, 
or on the other, all resistance be entirely crushed out. 
I have expressed that opinion, and I entertain it to-night. 
It is denied that there is any tendency to the nation- 
alization of slavery in these States. 

Mr. Brooks, of South Carolina, in one of his speeches, 
when they were presenting him canes, silver plate, gold 
pitchers and the like, for assaulting Senator Sumner, 
distinctly affirmed his opinion that when this Constitu- 
tion was formed, it was the belief of no man that slavery 
would last to the present day. 

He said, what I think, that the framers of our Con- 

56 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

Btitution placed the institution of slavery where the 
public mind rested in the hope that it was in the course 
of ultimate extinction. But he went on to say that the 
men of the present age, by their experience, have become 
wiser than the framers of the Constitution ; and the 
invention of the cotton ghi had made the perpetuity of 
slavery a necessity in this country. 

As another piece of evidence tending to this same 
point : Quite recently in Virginia, a man — the owner 
of slaves — made a will providing that after his death 
certain of his slaves should have their freedom if they 
should so choose, and go to Liberia, rather than remain 
in slavery. They chose to be liberated. But the per- 
sons to whom they would descend as property, claimed 
them as slaves. A suit was instituted, which finally 
came to the Supreme Court of Virginia, and was therein 
decided against the slaves, upon the ground that a 
nes^ro cannot make a choice — that thev had no lesral 
power to choose — could not perform the condition upon 
which their freedom depended. 

I do not mention this with any purpose of criticising 
it, but to connect it with the arguments as affording 
additional evidence of the change of sentiment upon 
this question of slavery in the direction of making it 
perpetual and national. I argue now as I did before, 
that there is such a tendency, and I am backed not 
merely by the facts, but by the open confession in the 
slave States. 

And now, as to the Judge's inference, that because I 
wish to see slavery placed in the course of ultimate 
extinction — placed where our fathers originally placed 
it — I wish to annihilate the State Legislatures — to force 
cotton to grow upon the tops of the Green Mountains — 
to freeze ice in Florida— to cut lumber on the broad 
Illinois prairies — that I am in favor of all these ridicu- 
lous and impossible things. 

It seems to me it is a complete answer to all this to 
ask, if, when Congress did have the fashion of restrict- 
ing slavery from free territory; when courts did have 
the fashion of deciding that taking a slave into a free 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. ^j 

country made him free — I say it is a sufficient answer 
to ask, if any of tliis ridiculous nonsense about consoli- 
dation, and uniformity, did actually follow? Who 
heard of any such thing, because of tlie Ordinance of 
'87? because of the Missouri Restriction ? because of the 
numerous court decisions of that character? 

I^ow as to the Dred Scott decision ; for upon that he 
makes his last point at me. He boldly takes ground in 
favor of that decision. 

This is one-half the onslaught, and one-third of the 
entire plan of the campaign. I am opposed to that 
decision in a certain sense, but not in the sense which 
he puts on it. I say that in so far as it decided in favor 
of Dred Scott's master, and against Dred Sc<:>tt and his 
family, I do not propose to disturb or resist the decision. 

I never have proposed to do any such thing. I think, 
that in respect for judicial authority, my humble history 
would not suffer in comparison with that of Judge 
Douo^las. He would have the citizen conform his vote 
to that decision ; the member of Congress, his ; the 
President, his use of the veto power. He would make 
it a rule of political action for the people and all the 
departments of the Government. I would not. By 
resisting it as a political rule I disturb no right of pro- 
perty, create no disorder, excite no mobs. 

When he spoke at Chicago, on Friday evening of last 
week, he made this same point upon me. On Saturday 
evening I replied, and reminded him of a Su})reme 
Court decision which he opposed for at least several 
years. Last night, at Bloomington, he took some notice 
of that reply ; but entirely forgot to remember that part 
of it. 

He renews his onslaught upon me, forgetting to re- 
member that I have turned the tables against himself 
on that very point. I renew the etibrt to draw his at- 
tention to it. I wish to stand erect before the country, 
as well as Judge Douglas, on this question of judicial 
authority ; and therefore I add something to the autho- 
rity in favor of my own position. I wish to show that 
I am sustained by authority, in addition to that hereto- 



The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

fore presented. I do not expect to convince the Judge. 
It is part of the plan of his campaign, and he will cling 
to it with a desperate gripe. Even, turn it upon him — 
the sharp point against him, and gaff him througli — lie 
will still cling to it till he can invent some new dodge 
to take the place of it. 

In public speaking it is tedious reading from docu- 
ments ; but I must beg to indulge the practice to a 
limited extent. I shall read from a letter written by 
Mr. Jefferson in 1820, and now to be found in the 
seventh volume of his correspondence, at page 177. It 
seems he had been presented by a gentleman of the 
name of Jarvis with a book, or essay, or periodical, 
called the " Republican," and he was writing in acknow- 
ledgment of the present, and noting some of its contents. 
After expressing the hope that the work will produce a 
favorable effect upon the minds of the young, he pro- 
ceeds to say : 

"That it will have this tendency may be expected, 
and for that reason I feel an urgency to note what I 
deem an error in it, the more requiring notice as your 
opinion is strengthened by that of many others. You 
seem, in page 81 and 148, to consider the judges as the 
ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions — a very 
dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place 
us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges 
are as honest as other men, and not more so. They 
have, with others, the same passions for party, for 
power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim 
is, ' boni judicis est ampHare jurisdictionem ;' and their 
power is the more dangerous as they are in office for 
life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, 
to the elective control. The constitution has erected no 
such single tribunal, knowing that, to whatever hands 
confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its 
members would become despots. It has more wisely 
made all the departments coequal and cosovereigu with 

Thus we see the power claimed for the Supreme Court 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 59 

by Judge Doui^las, Mr. Jefferson holds, would reduce 
us to the despotism of an oligarchy. 

Now, I have said no more than this — in fact, never 
quite so much as this — at least I am sustained by Mr. 

Let us go a little further. You remember we once had 
a National Bank. Some one owed the bank a debt ; 
he was sued and sought to avoid payment, on the ground 
that the bank was unconstitutional. The case went to 
the Supreme Court, and therein it was decided that the 
bank was constitutional. The whole Democratic party 
revolted against that decision. General Jackson himself 
asserted that he, as President, would not be bound to 
hold a National Bank to be constitutional, even though 
the court had decided it to be so. He fell in precisely 
with the view of Mr. Jeiferson, and acted upon it under 
his official oath, in vetoing a charter for a National 
Bank. The declaration that Congress does not pos- 
sess this constitutional power to charter a bank, has gone 
into the Democratic platform, at their National Conven- 
tion, and was brouglit forward and reaffirmed in their 
last Convention at Cincinnati. They have contended 
for that declaration, in the very teeth of the Supreme 
Court, for more than a quarter of a century. Li fact, 
they have reduced the decision to an absolute nullity. 
That decision, I repeat, is repudiated in the Cincinnati 
platform ; and still, as if to show that effrontry can go 
no farther. Judge Douglas vaunts in the very speeches 
in which he denounces me for opposing the Dred Scott 
decision, that he stands on the Cincinnati platform. 

Now I wish to know what the Judge can charge upon 
me, with respect to decisions of the Supreme Court, 
which does not lie in all its length, breath, and proportions 
at his own door. The plain truth is simply this : Judge 
Douglas is for Supreme Court decisions wlien he likes 
and against them when he does not like them. He is 
for the Dred Scott decision because it tends to nationalize 
slavery — because it is part of the original combination 
for ttiat object. It so happens, singularly enough, that 
I never stood opposed to a decision of the supreme 

6o The Life of Abrain Lincoln. 

Court till this. On the contrary, I have no recollection 
that he was ever particularly in favor of one till this. 
He never was in favor of any, nor opposed to any, till 
the present one, which helps to nationalize slavery. 

Free men of Sangamon — free men of Illinois — free 
men everywhere — judge ye between him and me, upon 
this issue. 

He says this Dred Scott case is a very small matter at 
most — that it has no practical eifect ; that at best, or 
rather, I suppose, at worst, it is but an abstraction. 1 
submit that the proposition that the thing which deter- 
mines whether a man is free or a slave, is rather concrete 
than abstract I think you would conclude that it was, 
if your liberty depended upon it, and so would Judge 
Douglas if his liberty depended upon it. But suppose 
it was on the question of spreading slavery over the 
new Territories that he considers it as being merely an 
abstract matter, and one of no practical importance. 
How has the planting of slavery in new countries al- 
ways been effected ? It has now been decided that 
slavery cannot be kept out of our new Territories by 
any legal means. In what do our new Territories now 
differ in this respect from tlie old Colonies when slavery 
was first planted within them? It was planted as Mr. 
Clay once declared, and as history proves true, by indi- 
vidual men in spite of the wishes of the people ; the 
Mother Government refusing to prohibit it, and with- 
holding from the people of the Colonies the authority 
to prohibit it for themselves. Mr. Clay says this was 
one of the great and just causes of complaint against 
Great Britain by the Colonies, and the best apology we 
can now make for having the institution amongst us. 
In that precise condition our ISTebraska politicians have 
at last succeeded in placing our own new Territories ; 
the Gj/:)vernment will not prohibit slavery within them, 
nor allow the people to prohibit it. 

I defy any man to find any difference between the 
policy which originally planted slaver}^ in these Colonies 
and that policy which now prevails in our new Terri- 
tories. If it does not go into them, it is only because 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 6l 

no individual wishes it to go. The Judge indulged him- 
self, doubtless to-daj, with the question as to what I am 
going to do with or about the Dred Scott decision. 
Well, Judge, will you please tell me what you did about 
the bank decision? Will you not graciously allow us 
to do with the Dred Scott decision precisely as you did 
with the bank decision ? You succeeded in breaking 
down the moral effect of that decision ; did you find it 
necessary to amend the Constitution ? or to set up a 
court of negroes in order to do it ? 

There is one other point. Judge Douglas has a very 
affectionate leaning toward the Americans and Old 
Whigs. Last evening, in a sort of weeping tone, he 
described to us a death-bed scene. He had been called 
to the side of Mr. Clay, in his last moments, in order that 
the genius of " popular sovereignty " might duly descend 
from the dying man and settle upon him, the living and 
most worthy successor. He could do no less than promise 
that he would devote the remainder of his life to " po- 
pular sovereignty ;" and then the great statesman de- 
parts in peace. By this part of the " plan of the com- 
pain," the Judge has evidently promised himself that 
tears shall be drawn down the cheeks of all Old Whigs, 
as large as half-grown apples. 

Mr. Webster, too, was mentioned ; but it did not quite 
come to a death-bed scene, as to him. It would be amus- 
ing, if it were not disgusting, to see how quick these 
compromise-breakers administer on the political effects 
of their dead adversaries, trumping up claims never be- 
fore heard of, and dividing the assets among themselves. 
If I should be found dead to-morrow morning, nothing 
but my insignificance could prevent a speech being made 
on my authority before the end of next week. It so 
happens that in that " popular sovereignity " with which 
Mr. Clay was identified, the Missouri Compromise was 
expressly reserved ; and it was a little singular, if Mr. 
Clay cast his mantle upon Judge Douglas on purpose to 
have that compromise repealed. 

Again, the Judge did not keep faith with Mr. Clay 
when he first brought in his Nebraska bill. He left the 

62 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

Missouri Compromise unrepealed, and in his report ac- 
companying the bill, he told tlie world he did it on pur- 
pose. The manes of Mr. Clay must have been in great 
agony, till thirty days later, when " popular sovereignty " 
stood forth in all its glory. 

One more thing. Last night Judge Douglas tormented 
himself with horrors about my disposition k) make ne- 
groes perfectly equal with white men in social and politi- 
cal relations. He did not stop to show that I have said 
any such thing, or that it legitimately follows from any 
thing I have said, but he rushes on with his assertions. 
I adhere to the Declaration of Independence. If Judge 
Douglas and his friends are not willing to stand by it, let 
them come up and amend it. Let them make it read 
that all men are created equal except negroes. Let us 
have it decided, whether the Declaration of Independence, 
in this blessed year of 1858, shall be thus amended. 
In his construction of the Declaration last year, he said 
it only meant that Americans in America were equal to 
Englishmen in England. Then, when I pointed out to 
him that by that rule he excludes the Grermans, the Irisli, 
the Portuguese, and all the other people who have come 
amongst us since the Revolution, he reconstructs his con- 
struction. In his last speech he tells us it meant Euro- 

I press him a little further, and ask if it meant to in- 
clude the Russians in Asia ? or does he mean to exclude 
that vast population from the principles of our Declara- 
tion of Independence? I expect ere long he will intro- 
duce another amendment to his definition. He is not at 
all particular. He is satisfied with any thing which does 
not endanger the nationalizing of negro slavery. It may 
draw white men down, but it must not lift negroes up. 
Who shall say, "I am the superior, and you are the in- 

My declarations upon this subject of negro slavery 
may be misrepresented, but cannot be misunderstood. I 
have said that I do not understand the Declaration to 
mean that all men were created equal in all respects. 
They are not our equal in color ; but I suppose that it 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 63 

does mean to declare that all men are equal in some re- 
spects ; they are equal in their right to " life, liberty, and 
the pursuit of happiness." Certainly the negro is not 
our equal in color — perhaps not in many other respects ; 
still, in the right to put into his mouth the bread that his 
own hands have earned, he is the equal of every other 
man, white or black. In pointing out that more has been 
given you, you cannot be justified in taking away the 
little which has been given him. All I ask for the negro 
is that if you do not like him, let him alone. If God 
gave him but little, that little let him enjoy. 

When our Government was established, we had the 
institution of slavery among us. We were in a certain 
sense compelled to tolerate its existence. It was a sort 
of necessity. We had gone through our struggle and 
secured our own independence. The framers of the 
Constitution found the institution of slavery amongst 
their other institutions at the time. They found that by 
an effort to eradicate it, they might lose much of what 
they had already gained. They were obliged to bow to 
the necessity. They gave power to Congress to abolish 
the slave trade at the end of twenty years. They also 
prohibited it in the Territories wliere it did not exist. 
They did what they could and yielded to the necessity 
for the rest. I also yield to all which follows from that 
necessity. What I would most desire would be the sepa- 
ration of the white and black races. 

One more point on this Springfield speech which 
Judge Douglas says he has read so carefully. I expressed 
my belief in the existence of a conspiracy to perpetuate 
and nationalize slavery. I did not profess to know it, 
nor do I now. I showed the part Judge Douglas had 
played in the string of facts, constituting to my mind the 
proof of that conspiracy. I showed the parts played by 

I charged that the people had been deceived into car- 
rying the last Presidential election, by the impression 
that the people of the Territories might exclude slavery 
if they choose, when it was known in advance by the 
conspirators, that the court was to decide that neither 

64 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

Congress nor tlie people could so exclude slavery. These 
charges are more distinctly made than anything else in 
the speech. 

Judge Douglas has carefully read and re-read that 
speech. He has not, so far as I know, contradicted those 
charges. In the two speeches which I heard, he certainly 
did not. On his own tacit admission I renew that charge. 
I charge him with having been a party to that conspiracy 
and to that deception for the sole purpose of nationalizing 

After this speech the following correspondence took 
place between the two rival candidates for the United 
States Senate : — 

Mr. Lincoln to Mr, Douglas. 

Chicago, III., July 24, 1858. 

Hon. S. A. Douglas— Jiy Dear Sir: Will it be 
agreeable to you to make an arrangement for you and 
myself to divide time, and address the same audiences the 
present canvass ? Mr. Judd, who will hand you this, is 
authorized to receive your answer ; and, if agreeable to 
you, to enter into the terms of such arrangement. 

Your obedient servant, 


Mr. Douglas to Mr. Lincoln. 

Chicago, July 24, 1858. 

Hon. A. Lincoln — Dear Sir : Your note of this date, 
in which you inquire if it would be agreeable to me to 
make an arrangement to divide the time and address the 
same audiences during the present canvass, was handed 
me by Mr. Judd. Eecent events have interposed diffi- 
culties in the way of such an arrangement. 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 65 

I went to Springfield last week for tlie purpose of con- 
ferring^ with the Democratic State Central Committee 
iipon the mode of conducting the canvass, and with 
them, and under their advice, made a list of appoint- 
ments covering the entire period until late in October. 
The people of the several localities have been notified of 
the times and places of the meetings. Those appoint- 
ments have all been made for Democratic meetings, and ar- 
rangements have been made by which the Democratic can- 
didates for Congress, for the Legislature, and other offices, 
will be present and address the people. It is evident, 
therefore, that these various candidates, in connexion 
with myself, will occupy the whole time of the day and 
evening, and leave no opportunity for other speeches. 

Besides, there is another consideration which should 
be kept in mind. It has been suggested recently that an 
arrangement had been made to bring out a third candi- 
date for the United States Senate, who, with yourself, 
should canvass the state in opposition to me, and with no 
other purpose than to insure my defeat, by dividing the 
Democratic party for your benefit. If I should make 
this arrangement with you, it is more than probable that 
this other candidate, who has a common object with you, 
would desire to become a party to it, and claim the right 
to speak from the same stand ; so that he and you, in 
concert, might be able to take the opening and closing 
speech in every case. 

I cannot refrain from expressing my surprise, if it was 
your original intention to invite such an arrangement, 
that you should have waited until after I had made my 
appointments, inasmuch as we were both in Chicago 
together for several days after my arrival, and again at 
Bloomington, Atlanta, Lincoln, and Springfield, where 
it was well known I went for the purpose of consulting 
with the State Central Committee, and agreeing upon 
the plan of the campaign. 

While, under these circumstances, I do not feel at 
liberty to make any arrangements wdiicli would deprive 
the Democratic candidates for Congress, State oflicers, 
and the Legislature from participating in the discussion 

66 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

at the various meetings designated by the Democratic 
State Central Committee, I will, in order to accommo- 
date you as far as it is in my power to do so, take the 
responsibility of making an arrangement with you for a 
discussion between us at one prominent point in each 
Congressional District in the State, except the second 
and sixth districts, where we have both spoken, and in 
each of w^hich cases you had the concluding speech. If 
agreeable to yon, I w^ill indicate the following places as 
those most suitable in the several Congressional Dis- 
tricts at which we should speak, to wit : Freeport, 
Ottawa,Galesburg,Qui ncy, Alton, Jonesboro and Charles- 
ton. I will confer with you at the earliest convenient 
opportunity in regard to the mode of conducting the 
debate, the times of meeting at the several places, sub- 
ject to the condition, that where appointments have 
already been made by the Democratic State Central 
Committee at any of those places, I must insist upon 
you meeting me at the times specified. 

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant, 


Mt. Lincoln to Mr. Douglas. 

Springfield, July 29, 1858. 

Hon. S. A. Douglas — Dear Sir: Yours of the 24:th 
in relation to an arrangement to divide time, and 
address the same audiences, is received; and, in apo- 
logy for not sooner replying, allow me to say, that when 
I sat by you at dinner yesterday, I was not aware that 
you had answered my note, nor, certainly, that my own 
note had been presented to you. An hour after, I saw 
a copy of your answer in the Chicago Times, and, 
reaching home, I found the original awaiting me. Pro- 
testing that your insinuations of attempted unfairness on 
my part are unjust, and with the hope that you did not 
very considerately make them, I proceed to reply. To 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 67 

your statement that " It has heen suggested, recently, 
that an arrangement had been made to bring out a 
third candidate for the U. S. Senate, who, with yourself, 
should canvass the State in opposition to me," etc., I 
can only say, that such suggestion must have been made 
hy yourself, for certainly none such has been made by 
or to me, or otherwise, to my knowledge. Surely you 
did not deliherately conclude, as you insinuate, that I 
was expecting to draw you into an arrangement of 
terms, to be agreed on by yourself, by which a third 
candidate and myself, " in concert, miglit be able to 
take the opening and closing speech in every case." 

As to your surprise that I did not sooner make the 
proposal to divide time with you, I can only say, I made 
it as soon as I resolved to make it. I did not know but 
that such proposal would come from you ; I waited, 
respectfully, to see. It may have been well known to 
you that you went to Springheld for the purpose of 
agreeing on the plan of campaignj but it was not so 
known to me. Wlien your appointments were an- 
nounced in the papers, extending only to the 21st of 
August, I, for the first time, considered it certain that 
you would make no proposal to me, and then resolved 
that, if my friends concurred, I would make one to you. 
As soon thereafter as I could see and consult with 
friends satisfactorily, I did make the proposal. It did 
not occur to me that the proposed arrangement could 
derange your plans after the latest of your appointments 
already made. After that, there was, before the elec- 
tion, largely over two months of clear time. 

For you to say that we have already spoken at Chi- 
cago and Springfield, and that on both occasions I had 
the concluding speech, is hardly a fair statement. The 
truth i-ather is this : At Chicago, July 9th, you made a 
carefully-prepared conclusion on mj speech of June 
16th. Twenty-four hours after, I made a hasty conclu- 
sion on yours of the 9th. You had six days to prepare, 
and concluded on me again at Bloomington on the IGth. 
Twenty-four hours after, I concluded again on you at 
Springfield. In the meantime, you had made another 

68 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 


conclusion on me at Sprino^field, which I did not hear, 
and of the contents of which I knew nothing when I 
spoke ; so that your speech made in daylight, and mine 
at night, of the ITth, at Springfield, were both made in 
j)erfect independence of each other. The dates of 
making all these speeches will show, I think, that in the 
matter of time for preparation, the advantage has all 
been on your side ; and tliat none of the external cir- 
cumstances have stood to my advantage. 

I agree to an arrangement for ns to speak at the 
seven places you have named, and at your own times, 
provided you name the times at once, so that I, as well 
as you, can have to myself tlie time not covered by the 
arrangement. As to the other details, I wish perfect 
reciprocity, and no more. I wish as much time as you, 
and that conclusions shall alternate. That is all. 

Your obedient servant, 

A. LINCOL:^r. 

p. S. As matters now stand, I shall be at no more 
of your exclusive meetings ; and for about a week from 
to-day a letter from you will reach me at Springfield. 

A. L. 

Mr. Douglas to Mr. Lincoln. 

BEiiENT, Piatt Co., III. July 30, 1858. 

Dear Sir: Tour letter, dated yesterday, accepting 
my proposition for a joint discussion at one prominent 
point in each Congressional District, as stated in my 
previous letter, was received this morning. 

The times and places designated are as follows: 

Ottawa, La Salle County 
Freeport, Stephenson County 
Jonesboro, Union County . 
Charleston, Coles County . 
Galesburgh, Knox County . 
Quincy, Adams County 
Alton, Madison County 

. August 






. September 






. October 









The Life of Abram Lincoln. 69 

I agree to your suggestion that we shall alternately 
open and close the discussion. I will speak at Ottawa 
one hour, you can reply, occupying an hour and a half, 
and I will then follow for half an hour. At Freeport, 
you shall open the discussion and speak one hour, I will 
Ibllow for an hour and a half, and you can then reply 
for half an hour. We will alternate in like manner in 
each successive place. 

Yery respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Hon. a. Lincoln, Springfield, 111. 

Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Douglas. 

Springfield, July 31, 1858. 

Hon. S. A. Douglas — Dear Sir : Yours of yester- 
day, naming places, times and terms, for joint discus- 
sions between us, was received this morning. Although 
by the terms, as you propose, you take four openings 
and closes, to my three, I accede, and thus close the 
arrangement. I direct this to you at Hillsboro, and 
shall try to have both your letter and this appear in the 
Journal and Begister of Monday morning. 

Your obedient servant, 


In the course of the debates which ensued, Mr. 
Douglas gave the following account of the early rivalry 
between himself and Mr. Lincoln, and of the circum- 
stances in which the boyhood and the youth of them 
both were trained. In no other country in the world 
could two prominent men relate such experiences ; in 
no other country would they, if they could ; no where 
else could two men rise from such absolute obscurity to 

JO The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

sucli absolute distinction so rapidly, and surely, and 
naturally, and easily ; no where else, if the rise should 
occur, would the men be other than ashamed of what 
is here their proudest boast. 

In the remarks I have made on this platform, and the 
position of Mr. Lincoln upon it, I mean nothing person- 
ally disrespectful or unkind to that gentleman. I have 
known him for nearly twenty-five years. There were 
many points of sympathy between us when we first got 
acquainted. We were both comparatively boys, and 
both struggling with poverty in a strange land. I was 
a school-teacher in the town of Winchester, and he a 
flourishing grocery-keeper in the town of Salem. He 
was more successful in his occupation than I was in 
mine, and hence more fortunate in this world's goods. 
Lincoln is one of those peculiar men who perform with 
admirable skill everything which they undertake. I 
made as good a school-teacher as I could, and when a 
cabinet maker I made a good bedstead and tables, 
although my old boss said I succeeded better with 
bureaus and secretaries than with anything else ; but I 
believe that Lincoln was always more successful in busi- 
ness than I, for his business enabled him to get into the 
Legislature. I met him there, however, and had a 
sympathy with him, because of the up-hill struggle w^e 
both had in life. He was then j ust as good at telling an 
anecdote as now. He could beat any of the boys 
wrestling, or running a foot-race, in pitching quoits or 
tossing a copper; could ruin more liquor than all the 
boys of the town together, and the dignity and impar- 
tiality with w^hich he presided at a horse-race or fist- 
fight, excited the admiration and won tiie praise of 
everybody that was present and participated. I sympa- 
thized with him, because he was struggling with diffi- 
culties, and so was I. Mr. Lincoln served with me in 
the Legislature in 1836, when we both retired, and he 
subsided, or became submerged, and he was lost sight 
of as a public man for some years. In 1846, when 

The Life of Abrain Lincoln. 71 

"Wilmot Introduced his celehrated proviso, and the Abo- 
Htion tornado swept over the country, Lincoln again 
turned up as a member of Congress from the Sangamon 
district. I was then in the Senate of the United States, 
and was glad to welcome mjold friend and companion. 
AVhilst in Congress, he distinguished himself by his 
opposition to the Mexican war, taking the side of the 
common enemy against his own country ; and when lie 
returned home he found that the indignation of the 
people followed him everywhere, and he was again 
submerged or obliged to retire into private life, forgot- 
ten by his former friends. He came np again in 1854, 
just in time to make this Abolition or Black Repub- 
lican platform, in company with Giddings, Lovejoy, 
Chase and Fred Douglass, for the Republican party to 
stand upon. 

In reply to this account, Lincoln said : 

ISTow I pass on to consider one or two more of these 
little follies. The Judge is wofully at fault about his 
early friend Lincoln being a " grocery-keeper." I don't 
know as it would be a great sin, if I had been ; but he is 
mistaken. Lincoln never kept a grocery anywhere in 
the world. It is true that Lincoln did work the latter 
part of one winter in a little still-house, up at the head 
of a hollow. And so I think my friend, the Judge, 
is equally at fault when he charges me, at the time 
when I was in Congress, of having opposed our soldiers 
who were fighting in the Mexican war. The Judge did 
not make his charge very distinctly, but I can tell you 
what he can prove, by referring to the record. You 
remember I was an old Whig, and whenever the Demo- 
cratic party tried to get me to vote that the war had been 
righteously begun by the President, I would not do it. 
But whenever they asked for any money, or land-war- 
rants, or anything to pay the soldiers there during all 
that time, I gave the same vote that Judge Douglas did. 
You can think as you please as to whether that was con- 
sistent. Such is the truth ; and the Judge has the right to 

72 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

make all he can out of it. But when he, by a general 
charge, conveys the idea that I withheld supplies from 
the soldiers who were fighting in the Mexican war, or did 
anything else to hinder the soldiers, he is, to say the least, 
grossly and altogether mistaken, as a consultation of the 
records will proye to him. 

The record in this yolume, the speeches quoted in its 
earlier portion, fully corroborate the statement of Mr. 
Lincoln in regard to his Congressional career. 

In replj" to some more serious charges, made at the 
same time by Senator Douglas, Mr. Lincoln said : 

My Fellow ciTiZEXS : "When a man hears himself 
somewhat misrepresented, it proyokes him — at least, I 
find it so with myself; but when misrepresentation 
becomes yery gross and palpable, it is more apt to amuse 
him. The first thing I see fit to notice, is the fact that 
Judge Douglas alleges, after running through the history 
of the old Democratic and the old Whig parties, that Judge 
Trumbull and myself made an arrangement in 1854, by 
which I was to haye the place of Gen. Shields in the 
United States Senate, and Judge Trumbull was to haye 
the place of Judge Douglas. Now, all I haye to say 
upon that subject is, that I think no man — not eyen Judge 
Douglas — can proye it, because it is not true. I haye no 
doubt he is ^^ conscientious^'' in saying it. As to those 
resolutions that he took such a length of time to read, as 
being the platform of the Republican party in 1854, I 
say I neyer had anything to do with them, and I think 
Trumbull neyer had. Judge Douglas cannot show that 
either of us eyer did haye anything to do with them. I 
belieye this is true about those resolutions : There was a 
call for a Conyention to form a Republican party at 
Springfield, and I think that my friend, Mr. Loyejoy, 
who is here upon this stand, had a hand in it. I think 
this is true, and I think if he will remember accurately, 
he will be able to recollect that he tried to get me into it, 
and I would not go in. I belieye it is also true that I 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 73 

went away from Springfield when the Convention was in 
session, to attend court, in Tazewell County. It is true 
they did place my name, though without authority, upon 
the committee, and afterward wrote me to attend the 
meeting of the committee, but I refused to do so, and I 
never had anything to do with that organization. This 
is the plain truth about all that matter of the resolutions. 
Now, about this story that Judge Douglas tells of 
Trumbul] bargaining to sell out the old Democratic 
party, and Lincoln agreeing to sell out the old Whig 
party, I have the means of knowing about that — Judge 
Douglas cannot have ; and I know there is no substance 
to it whatever. Yet I have no doubt he is " conscientious''' 
about it. I know that after Mr. Lovejoy got into the 
Legislature that winter, he complained of me that I had 
told all the old Whigs of his district that the old Whig 
party was good enough for them, and some of them voted 
against him because I told them so. Kow, I have no 
means of totally disproving such charges as this which 
the Judge makes. A man cannot prove a negative, but 
he has a right to claim that when a man makes an affirm- 
ative charge, he must offer some proof to show the truth 
of what he says. I certainly cannot introduce testimony 
to show the negative about things, but I have a right to 
claim that if a man says he knoius a thing, then he must 
show how he knows it. I always have a right to claim 
this, and it is not satisfactory to me that he may be 
''conscientious" on. the subject. 

In one of his speeches Judge Douglas propounded a 
series of questions to his antagonist, which the latter thus' 
directly answered. 

Having said thus much, I will take up the Judge's in- 
terrogatories as I find them printed in the Chicago Times^ 
and answer them seriatim. In order that there may be 
no mistake about it, I have copied the interrogatories in 
writing, and also my answers to them. The first one of 
these interrogatories is in these words : 

74 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

Question 1. "I desire to know whether Lincoln to-day 
stands, as he did in 1854, in favor of the unconditional 
repeal of the Fugitive Slave law? " 

Answer. I do not now, nor ever did, stand in favor 
of the unconditional repeal of the Fugitive Slave law. 

Q. 2. "I desire him to answer whether he stands 
pledged to-day, as he did in 1854, against the admission 
of any more slave States into the Union, even if the peo- 
ple want them? " 

A. I do not now, or ever did, stand pledged against 
the admission of any more slave States into the Union. 

Q. 3. " I want to know whether he stands pledged 
against the admission of a new State into the Union with 
such a Constitution as the people of that State may see 
fit to make ? " 

A. I do not stand pledged against the admission of a 
new State into the Union, with such a Constitution as the 
people of that State may see fit to make. 

Q. 4. "I want to know whether he stands to-day 
pledged to the abolition of slavery in the District of 
Columbia? " 

A. I do not stand to-day pledged to the abolition of 
slavery in the District of Columbia. 

Q. 5. "I desire him to answer whether he stands 
pledged to the prohibition of the slave-trade between the 
different States? " 

A. I do not stand pledged to the prohibition of the 
slave-trade between the different States. 

Q. 6. "I desire to know whether he stands pledged 
to prohibit slavery in all the Territories of the United 
States, North as well as South of the Missouri Compro- 
mise line? " 

A. I am impliedly, if not expressly, pledged to a 
belief in the right and duty of Congress to prohibit slavery 
in all the United States Territories. 

Q. 7. "I desire him to answer whether he is opposed 
to the acquisition of any new territory unless slavery is 
first prohibited therein ? " 

A. I am not generally opposed to honest acquisition 
of territory; and, in any given case, I would or would 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 75 

not oppose sncli acquisition, accordingly as I might think 
such acquisition would or would not aggravate the slavery 
question among ourselves. 

This series will aid materially in forming an idea of 
the position that -Mr. Lincoln to-day claims to occupy on 
the important questions at issue before the country ; for 
although he does not now in person, as before, defend his 
opinions and maintain his views in the presence of those 
who are to decide his political fortunes, he is just as really 
on trial as in 1858 ; his former opinions and the doctrines 
he then advanced are still maintained by him, are those 
by which he will again be judged, and by which he and his 
party are to stand or fall. They do not shirk the issue. 

Mr. Lincoln's views in regard to the Dred Scott decision 
will be found very succinctly stated in the following 
extract from one of his speeches, made by him during 
the campaign. It was delivered at Chicago on the 
10th of July. 

A little now on the other point — the Dred Scott 
decision. Another of the issues, he says, that is to be 
made with me, is upon his devotion to the Dred Scott 
decision, and my opposition to it. 

I have expressed heretofore, and I now repeat my 
opposition to the Dred Scott decision, but I should be 
allowed to state the nature of that opposition, and I ask 
your indulgence while I do so. What is fairly implied 
by the term Judge Douglas has used, "resistance to the 
decision?" I do not resist it. If I wanted to take Dred 
Scott from his master, I would be interfering with 
property, and that terrible difficulty that Judge Douglas 
speaks of, of interfering with property would arise. But 
I am doing no such thing as that, but all that I am doing 
is refusing to obey it as a political rule. If I were in 
Congress, and a vote should come up on a question 
whether slavery should be prohibited in a new Territory, 

76 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

in spite of tlie Drcd Scott decision, I would vote that it 

Mr. Lincoln — That is what I would do. Judo^e Douj^las 
said last night, that before the decision he might advance 
his opinion, and it might be contrary to the decision 
when it was made ; but after it was made he would abide 
by it until it was reversed. Just so I We let this 
property abide by the decision, but we will try to reverse 
that decision. We will try to put it where Judge 
Douglas would not object, for he says he will obey it 
until it is reversed. Somebod}^ has to reverse that deci- 
sion, since it is made, and we mean to reverse it, and we 
mean to do it peaceably. 

What are the uses of decisions of courts ? They have 
two uses. As rules of property they have two uses. 
First — they decide upon the question before the court. 
They decide in this case that Dred Scott is a slave. 
Nobody resists that. Not only that, but they say to 
everybody else, that persons standing just as Dred Scott 
stands, is as he is. That is, they say that when a ques- 
tion comes up upon another person, it will be so decided 
again, unless the court decides in another way, unless the 
court overrules its decision. Well, we mean to do what 
we can to have the court decide the other way. That is 
one thing we mean to try to do. 

The sacredness that Judge Douglas throws around this 
decision, is a degree of sacredness that has never been 
before thrown around any other decision. I have never 
heard of such a thing. Why decisions apparently con- 
trary to that decision, or that good lawyers thought were 
contrary to that decision, have been made by that very 
court before. It is the first of its kind ; it is an astonisher 
in legal history. It is a new wonder of the world. It is 
based upon falsehood in the main as to the facts — allega- 
tions of facts upon which it stands are not facts at all in 
many instances, and no decision made on any question — 
the first instance of a decision made under so many 
unfavorable circumstances — thus placed, has ever been 
held b}^ the profession as law, and it has always needed 
confirmation before the lawyers regarded it as settled law. 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 77 

Bat Judge Donglas will have it that all hands must take 
this extraordinary decision, made under these extra- 
ordinary circumstances, and give their vote in Congress 
in accordance with it, yield to it and obey it in every 
possible sense. Circumstances alter cases. Do not gen- 
tlemen here remember the case of that same Supreme 
Court, some twenty-five or thirty years ago, deciding that 
a National Bank was constitutional ? I ask, if somebody 
does not remember that a National Bank was declared 
to be constitutional ? Such is the truth, whether it be 
remembered or not. The Bank charter ran out, and a 
re-charter was granted by Congress. That re-charter 
was laid before General Jackson. It was urged upon 
him, when he denied the constitutionality of the Bank, 
that the Supreme Court had decided that it was constitu- 
tional ; and that General Jackson then said that the 
Supreme Court had no right to lay down a rule to govern 
a co-ordinate branch of the Government, the members of 
which had sworn to support the Constitution — that each 
member had sworn to support that Constitution, as he 
understood it. I will venture here to say, that I have 
heard Judge Douglas say that he approved of General 
Jackson for that act. What has now become of all his 
tirade about " resistance to the Supreme Court?" 

The following tribute to th^ Declaration of Independ- 
ence was delivered by Mr. Lincoln during the campaign, 
but not on any occasion when his competitor was present. 
It is in a higher strain than Mr. Lincoln often attempted, 
but its success would warrant a renewal. 

These communities (the thirteen colonies), by their 
representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the 
world of men : " We hold these truths to be self-evident, 
that all men are born equal ; that they are endowed by 
their Creator with inalienable rights; that among these 
are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." This 
was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the 
universe. This was- their lofty, and wise, and noble 

78 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

understanding of tlie justice of the Creator to His crea- 
tures. Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole 
great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing 
stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent 
into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and 
imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the 
race of men then living, but they reached forward and 
seized upon the farthest posterity. They created a 
beacon to guide their children and their children's chil- 
dren, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the 
earth in other ages. Wise statesmen as they were, they 
knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tj'rants, and so 
they established these great self-evident truths that when 
in the distant future, some man, some faction, some inte- 
rest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, 
or none but white men, or none but Anglo-Saxon white 
men, were entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of 
happiness, their posterity might look up again to the 
Declaration of Independence, and take courage to renew 
the battle which their fathers began, so that truth, and 
justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian 
virtues, might not be extinguished from the land ; so 
that no man w^ould hereafter dare to limit and circum- 
pcribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty 
was being built. 

Now, my countrymen, if you have been taught doc- 
trines conflicting with the great landmarks of the Decla- 
ration of Independence ; if you have listened to sugges- 
tions which would take away from its grandeur, and 
mutilate the fair symmetry of its proportions ; if you 
have been inclined to believe that all men are not created 
equal in those inalienable rights enumerated by our chart 
of liberty, let me entreat you to come back — return to 
the fountain, whose waters spring close by the blood of 
the Revolution. Think nothino^ of me, take no thoug^ht 
for the political fate of any man whomsoever, but come 
back to the truths that are in the Declaration of Inde- 

You may do anything with me you choose, if you will 
but heed these sacred principles. You may not only 

The Life of Abnim Lincoln. 79 

defeat me for the Senate, but you may take me and 
put me to death. While pretending no indifference to 
earthly honors, I do claim to be actuated in this contest 
by something higher than an anxiety for office. I charge 
you to drop every paltry and insignificant thought for 
any man's success. It is nothing; I am nothing; Judge 
Douglas is nothing. But do not destroy that immortal 
emblem of humanity — the Declaration of American Inde- 

But we have not space for further extracts from those 
memorable speeches. They produced a remarkable effect 
upon their hearers, and procured their author an ex- 
tended fame as one of the readiest and most popular of 
popular orators. They have been widely disseminated 
by the Republican party since. The struggle was fierce, 
but it has been said that 

" In perhaps the severest test that could have been 
applied to any man's temper — his political contest with 
Senator Douglas in 1858 — Mr. Lincoln not only proved 
himself an able speaker and a good tactician, but demon- 
strated that it is possible to carry on the fiercest political 
warfare without once descending to rude personality and 
coarse denunciation. We have it on the authority of a 
gentleman who followed Abram Lincoln throughout the 
whole of that campaign, that in spite of all the tempta- 
tions to an opposite course to which he was continuously 
exposed, no personalities against his opponent, no vitu- 
peration or coarseness, ever defiled his lips. His kind 
and genial nature lifted him above a resort to any such 
weapons of political warfare, and it was the commonly 
expressed regret of fiercer natures that he treated his 
opponent too courteously and urbanely. Vulgar person- 
alities and vituperation are the last thing that can be 
truthfully charged against Abram Lincoln. His heart is 
too genial, his good sense too strong, and his innate self- 
respect too predominant, to permit him to indulge in 
them. His nobility of nature — and we use the term 

8o The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

advisedly — lias been as manifest through his whole career, 
as his temperate habits, his self-reliance, and his mental 
and intellectual power." 

The result of the campaign was a Republican majority 
on the popular vote. 


Total vote in '56 96,189 37,444 105,348 


Total vote in '58 125,275 5,071 121,130 

L.'s gain on '56. . . 29,086. Douglas's do. . . 15,742 

Lincoln's net gain, 14,344. 

But owing to the apportionment of the Legislature, 
Douglas's majority in joint ballot was eight ; three in the 
Senate, and five in the House ; so that he enjoyed the 
fruits of a victory, while Lincoln had the honors, which, 
in this instance, were barren indeed. 

Since the close of the campaign of 1858, Lincoln has 
been the favorite candidate of Illinois for the Presidency. 
Eepublicans too, in other states, attracted by the fame he 
obtained in this contest, have summoned him to aid them ; 
and at Columbus, and Cincinnati, Ohio, he made in the 
fall of 1859, two powerful and effective speeches, which 
extended his reputation. On the 27th of Februar}^, 1860, 
he delivered at the Cooper Institute, N'ew York, another 
speech, which the Eepublicans received at the time with 
great enthusiasm, and afterwards accepted as a sort of 
shibboleth of their party. It has since been repeated 
several times in the N'ew England States. 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 8l 


INSTITUTE, MONDAY, Feb. 27, 1860. 

Mr. President and Fellow-citizens of !N^ew York : 
The facts with whicli I shall deal this evening are mainly 
old and familiar ; nor is there anything new in the 
general use I shall make of them. If there shall be 
any novelty, it will be in the mode of presenting the 
facts, and the inferences and observations following 
that presentation. 

In his speech last autumn, at Columbus, Ohio, as 
reported in The New Yorh Times^ Senator Douglas said : 

" Our fathers, when they framed the Government 
under which we live, understood this question just as 
well, and even better than we do now." 

I fully indorse this, and I adopt it as a text for this 
discourse. I so adopt it because it furnishes a precise 
and an agreed starting point for the discussion between 
Kepublicans and that wing of Democracy headed by 
Senator Douglas. It simply leaves the inquiry : " What 
was the understanding those fathers had of the question 
mentioned ?" 

What is the frame of Government under which we 
live ? 

The answer must be : " The Constitution of the 
United State.^." That Constitution consists of the ori- 
ginal, framed in 1787 (and under which the present 
Government first went into operation), and tv/elve sub- 
sequently framed amendments, the first ten of which 
were framed in 1789. 

Who were our fathers that framed the Constitution ? 
I suppose the " thirty-nine" who signed the original 
instrument may be fairly called our fathers who framed 
that part of the present Government. It is almost 
exactly true to say they fi-amed it, and it is altogether 
true to say they fairly represented the opinion and sen- 
timent of the whole nation at that time. Their names 


82 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

being familiar to nearly all, and accessible to cpite all, 
need not now be repeated. 

I take these " thirty-nine," for the present, as being 
" our fathers who framed the Government under which 
we live." 

What is the question which, according to the text, 
those fathers understood just as well, and even better 
than we do now ? 

It is this : Does the proper division of local from 
federal authority, oranytliing in tlie Constitution, forbid 
our Federal Government to control as to slavery in our 
Federal Territories ? 

Upon this, Douglas holds the affirmative, and Kepub- 
licans the neg-ative. This affirmative and denial form 
an issue ; and this issue — this question — is precisely 
what the text declares our fathers understood better 
than we. 

Let us now inquire whether the " thirty-nine," or any 
of them, ever acted upon this question ; and if they did, 
how they acted upon it — how they expressed that better 

In 1784 — three vears before the Constitution — the 
United States then owning the Northwestern Territory, 
and no other — the Congi-ess of the Confederation had 
before them the question of prohibiting slavery in that 
Territory ; and four of the '' thirty-nine" w4io afterward 
framed the Constitution were in that Cono:ress, and 
voted on that question. Of these, Hoger Sherman, 
Tliomas Mifflin, and Hugh Williamson voted for the 
prohibition — thjis sliowing that, in their understanding, 
no line divided local from federal a^uthority, nor any- 
thing else, propei'ly forbade the Federal Government to 
control as to slavery in federal territory. The other of 
the four — James Mc Henry — voted against the prohibi- 
tion, showing that, for some cause, he thought it im^ 
proper to vote for it. 

In 1787, still before the Constitution, but while the 
Convention was in session framing it, and while the 
Nortliwestern Territory still was the only territory 
owned by the United States — the same question of pro- 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 83 

liibitin^ slaveiy in the territory again came before tlie 
Congress of the Confederation ; and three more of the 
" thirty-nine" who afterward signed the Constitution, 
were in that Con ogress, and voted on the question. They 
were William Blount, William Few, and Abraham 
Baldwin ; and they all voted for the prohibition — thus 
showing that, in their understanding, no Hne dividing 
local from federal authority, nor anj'thing else, properly 
forbids the Federal Government to control as to slavery 
in federal territory. This time the prohibition became 
a law, being part of what is now well known as the 
Ordinance of '87. 

The question of federal control of slavery in the ter- 
ritories, seems not to have been directly before the Con- 
vention which framed the original Constitution; and 
hence it is not recorded that the " thirty-nine " or any 
of them, while engaged on that instrument, expressed 
any opinion on that precise question. 

In 1789, by the first Congress which sat nnder the 
Constitution, an act was passed to enforce the Ordinance 
of '87 including the prohibition of slavery in the North- 
western Territory. The bill for this act was reported 
b}^ one of the " thirty-nine," Thomas Fitzsimmons, then 
a member of the House of Representatives from Penn- 
sylvania. It went through all its stages without a 
word of opposition, and finally passed both branches 
without yeas and nays, which is equivalent to an unani- 
mous passage. In this Congress there were sixteen of 
the " thirty-nine" fathers who framed the original Con- 
stitution. They were John Langdon, Nicholas Oilman, 
Wm. S. Johnson, Roger Sherman, Robert Morris, Tlios. 
Fitzsimmons, AVilliam Few, Abraham Baldwin, Rufus 
King, William Patterson, George Clymer, Richard Bas- 
sett, George Read, Pierce Butler, Daniel Carroll, James 

Tills shows that, in their understanding, no line 
dividing local from federal authority, nor anything in 
the Constitution, properly forbade Congress to prohibit 
slavery- in tlie federal tei'ritory ; else both their fidelity 
to correct principle, and their oath to support the Con- 

84 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

stitution, would have constrained them to oppose the 

Again, George Washington, another of the " thirty- 
nine," was then President of the United States, and, as 
such, approved and signed the bill, thus completing 
its validity as a law, and thus showing that, in his 
understanding, no line dividing local from federal 
authority, nor anything in the Constitution, forbade the 
Federal Government to control as to slavery in federal 

No great while after the adoption of the original 
Constitution, North Carolina ceded to the Federal 
Government the country now constituting the State of 
Tennessee ; and a few years later, Georgia ceded that 
which now constitutes the States of Mississippi and 
Alabama. In both deeds of cession it was made a con- 
dition by the ceding States that the Federal Govern- 
ment should not prohibit slavery in the ceded country. 
Besides this, slavery was then actually in the ceded 
country. Under these circumstances. Congress, on 
taking charge of these countries did not absolutely pro- 
hibit slavery within them. But they did interfere with 
it — take control of it — even there, to a certain extent. 
In 1798 Congress organized the Territory of Mississippi. 
In the act of organization they prohibited the bringing 
of slaves into the Territory, from any place without the 
United States, by fine, and giving freedom to slaves so 
bought. This act passed both branches of Congress 
without yeas and nays. In that Congress were three of 
the " thirty-nine" who framed the original Constitution. 
They were John Langdon, George Head, and Abraham 
Baldwin. They all, probably, voted for it. Certainly 
they would have placed their opposition to it upon 
record, if, in their understanding, any line dividing local 
from federal authority, or anything in the Constitution, 
properly forbade the Federal Government to control as 
to slavery in federal territory. 

In 1803, the Federal Government purchased the 
Louisiana country. Our former territorial acquisitions 
came from certain of our own States ; but this Louisiana 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 85 

country was acquired from a foreign nation. In 1804, 
Congress gave a territorial organization to that part of 
it which now constitutes the State of Louisiana. New 
Orleans, lying within that part, was an old and com- 
paratively large city. There were other considerable 
towns and settlements, and slavery was extensively and 
thoroughly intermingled with the people. Congress did 
not, in the Territorial Act, prohibited Slavery ; but they 
did interfere with it — take control of it — in a more 
marked and extensive way than they did in the case of 
Mississippi. The substance of the provision therein 
made, in relation to slaves, was : 

First. That no slave should be imported into the 
territory from foreign parts. 

Second. That no slave should be carried into it who 
liad been imported into the United Stated since the first 
day of May, 1798. 

Third. Tliat no slave should be carried into it, except 
by the owner, and for his own use as a settler; the 
penalty in all the cases being a fine upon the violator 
of the law, and freedom to the slave. 

This act also was passed without yeas and nays. Li 
the Congress which passed it, there were two of the 
"thirty-nine." They were Abraham Baldwin and Jo- 
nathan Dayton. As stated in the case of Mississippi, it 
is probable they both voted for it. They would not 
have allovved it to pass without recording their opposi- 
tion to it, if, in their understanding, it violated either 
the line proper dividing local from federal authority or 
any provision of the Constitution. 

In 1819-20, came and passed the Missouri question. 
Many votes were taken, by yeas and nays, in both 
branches of Congress, upon the various phases of the 
general question. Two of the " thirty- nine" — Rufus 
King and Charles Pinckney — were members of that Con- 
gress. Mr. King steadily voted for slavery prohibition 
and against all compromises, while Mr. Pinckney as 
steadily voted against slavery prohibition and against 
all compromises. By this Mr. King showed that, in 
his understanding, no line dividing local from federal 

86 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

authority, nor anything in the Constitution, was violated 
by Congress prohibiting slavery in federal territory ; 
while Mr. Pinckney, by his votes, showed that in his 
understandino; there was some sufficient reason for 
opposing such prohibition in that case. 

The cases I have mentioned are the only acts of the 
" thirty-nine," or of any of them, upon the direct issue, 
which I have been able to discover. 

To enumerate the persons who thus acted, as being 
four in 1784, three in 1787, seventeen in 1789, three in 
1798, two in 1804, and two in 1819-20— there would be 
thirty-one of them. But this would be counting John 
Langdon, Koger Sherman, William Few, Rufus King, 
and George Read, each twice, and Abraham Baldwin 
four times. The true number of those of the " thirty- 
nine" whom I have shown to have acted upon the 
question, which, by the text they understood better 
than we, is twenty-three, leaving sixteen not shown to 
have acted upon it in any way. 

Here, then, we have twenty-three out of our " thirty- 
nine" fathers who framed the Government under which 
we live, who have, upon their official responsibility and 
their corpoi*al oaths, acted upon the very question which 
the text affirms they " understood just as well, and even 
better than we do now ;" and twenty-one of them — a 
clear majority of the "thirty-nine" — so acting upon it as 
to make them guilty of gross political impropriety, and 
wilful perjury, if, in their understanding, any proper 
division between local and federal authority, or any- 
thing in the Constitution they had made tliemselves, 
and sworn to sujiport, forbade the Federal Government 
to control as to slavery iti the federal territories. Thus 
the twenty-one acted ; and, as actions speak louder than 
words, so actions under such responsibility speak still 

Two of the twenty-three voted against Congressional 
prohibition of slavery in the federal territories, in the 
instances in which they acted upon the question. But 
for what reasons they so voted is not known. They 
may have done so because they thought a proper divi- 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 87 

sion of local from federal autliority, or some ])rovision 
or principle of the Constitution, stood in the way ; or 
tliey may, without any such question, have voted against 
tlie prohibition, on what appeared to them to be suffi- 
cient grounds of expediency. No one who has sworn to 
support the Constitution, can conscientiously vote for 
what he understands to be an unconstitutional measure, 
however expedient he may think it ; but one may and 
ought to vote against a measure which he deems con- 
stitutional, if, at the same time, he deems it inexpedient. 
It, therefore, would be unsafe to set down even the two 
who voted against the proliibition, as having done so 
because, in their understanding, any proper division of 
local from federal authority, or anything in the Con- 
stitution, forbade the Federal Government to control as 
to slavery in federal territory. 

The remaining sixteen of the " thirty-nine," so far as 
I have discovered, have left no record of their under- 
standing upon the direct question of federal control of 
slavery in the federal territories. But there is much 
reason to believe that their understanding upon that 
question would not have appeared different from that 
of their twenty-three compeers, had it been manifested 
at all. 

For the purpose of adliering rigidly to the text, I 
have purposel}^ omitted whatever understanding may 
have been manifested, by any person, however distin- 
guished, other than the thirty-nine fathers who framed 
the original Constitution ; and, for the same reason, I 
have also omitted whatever understanding may have 
been manifested by any of the " thirty-nine" even, on 
any other pliase of the general question of slavery. If 
we should look into their acts and declarations on those 
other phases, as the foreign slave-trade, and the morality 
and policy of slavery generally, it would appear to us 
that on tlie direct question of federal control of slavery 
in federal territories, the sixteen, if they had acted at all, 
would probably have acted just as the twenty-three did. 
Among that sixteen were several of the most noted anti- 
slavery men of those times — as Dr. Franklin, Alexander 

88 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

Hamilton and Governeur Morris — while there was not 
one now known to have been otherwise, unless it may 
be John Rutledge, of South Carolina. 

The sum of the whole is, that of our " thirtj-nine" 
fathers who framed the original Constitution, twenty- 
one — a clear majority of the whole — certainly understood 
that no proper division of local from federal authority 
nor any part of the Constitution, forbade the Federal 
Government to control slavery in the federal territories, 
while all the rest probably had the same understanding. 
Such, unquestionably, w^as the understanding of our 
fathers who framed the oriorinal Constitution ; and the 
text affirms that they understood the question better 
than we. 

But, so far, I have been considering the understand- 
ing of the question manifested by the framers of the 
original Constitution. In and by the original instrument, 
a mode was provided for amending it ; and, as I have 
already stated, the present frame of Government under 
which we live consists of that original, and twelve 
amendatory articles framed and adopted since. Those 
who now insist that federal control of slaver}^ in federal 
territories violates the Constitution, point us to the pro- 
visions which they suppose it thus violates ; and, as I 
understand, they all fix upon provisions in these amen- 
datory articles, and not in the original instrument. The 
Supreme Court, in the Dred Scott case, plant them- 
selves upon the fifth amendment, which provides that 
"no person shall be deprived of property without due 
process of law;" wliile Senator Douglas and his peculiar 
adherents plant themselves upon the tenth amendment, 
providing that " the powers not granted by the Con- 
stitution, are reserved to the States respectively, and to 
the people." 

Kow, it so happens that these amendments were 
framed by the first Congress which sat under the Con- 
stitution — the identical Congress which passed the act 
already mentioned, enforcing the pi'ohibition of slavery 
in the northwestern territory. Not only was it the same 
Congress, but they were the identical, same individual 


The Life of Abram Lincoln. 89 

men who, at the same session, and at the same time 
within the session, had under consideration, and in pro- 
gress toward maturity, these Constitutional amendments, 
and this act prohibiting^ slavery in all the territory the 
nation then owned. The Constitutional amendments 
were introduced before, and passed after the act enforc- 
ing the Ordinance of '87 ; so that during the whole pen- 
dency of the act to enforce the Ordinance, the Consti- 
tutional amendments were also pending. 

That Congress, consisting in all of seventy-six mem- 
bers, including sixteen of the framers of the original 
Constitution, as before stated, were pre-eminently our 
fathers who framed that part of the Government under 
which we live, which is now claimed as forbidding the 
Federal Government to control slavery in the federal 

Is it not a little presumptuous in any one at this day 
to affirm that the two things which that Congress delibe- 
rately framed, and carried to maturity at the same time, 
are absolutely inconsistent with each other ? And does 
not such affirmation become impudently absurd when 
coupled with the other affirmation, from the same mouth, 
that those who did the two things alleged to be incon- 
sistent understood whether they really were inconsistent 
better than we — better than he who affirms that they are 
inconsistent ? 

It is surely safe to assume that the " thirty-nine " 
framers of the original Constitution, and the seventy-six 
members of the Congress which framed the amendments 
thereto, taken together, do certainly include those who 
may be fairly called " our fathers who framed the Gov- 
ernment under which we live." And so assuming, I 
defy any man to show that any one of them ever, in his 
whole life, declared that, in his understanding, any proper 
division of local from federal authority, or any part of 
the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to con- 
trol as to slavery in the federal territories. I go a step 
further. I defy any one to show that any living man in 
the whole world ever did, prior to the beginning of the 
present century (and I might almost say prior to the 

go The Life of Abmm Lincoln. 

beginning of the last half of the present century), declare 
that, in his understanding, any proper division of local 
from federal authority, or any part of the Constitution, 
forbade the Federal G-overnment to control as to slavery 
in the federal territories. To those who now so declare, 
I give, not onl}^ "our fathers who framed the Govern- 
ment under which we live," but with them all other 
livinoj men within the centurv in which it was framed, 
among whom to search, -and they shall not be able to find 
the evidence of a sins:le man asrreeino- with them. 

o o o ... 

ISTow, and here, let me guard a little against bemg 
misunderstood. I do not mean to say we are bound to 
follow implicitly in whatever our fathers did. To do so, 
would be to discard all the lights of current experience — 
to reject all progress — all improvement. What I do say 
is, that if we would supplant the opinions and policy of 
our fothers in any case, we should do so upon evidence 
so conclusive, and argument so clear, that even their 
great authority, fairly considered and weighed, cannot 
stand ; and most surely not in a case whereof we our- 
selves declare they understood the question better than 

If any man, at this day, sincerely believes that a proper 
division of local from federal authority, or any part of 
the Constitution, forbids the Federal Government to 
control as to slavery in the federal territories, he is right 
to say so, and to enforce his position by all truthful 
evidence and fair argument which he can. But he has 
no right to mislead others, who have less access to history 
and less leisure to study it, into the false belief that ''our 
fiithers, who framed the Government under which we 
live," were of the same opinion — thus substituting false- 
hood and deception for truthful evidence and fair argu- 
ment. If any man at this day sincerely believes " our 
fathers, who framed the Government under which we 
live," used and applied principles, in other cases, which 
ought to have led them to understand that a proper 
division of local from federal authority or some part of 
the Constitution, forbids the Federal Government to 
control as to slavery in the federal territories, he is right 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. gi 

to say so. But he should, at the same time, brave the 
responsibility of declaring that, in his opinion, he under- 
stands their principles better than they did themselves; 
and especially should he not shirk that responsibility by 
asserting that they " understood the question just as well, 
and even better than we do now." 

But enough. Let all who believe that " our fathers, 
who framed the Government under which we live, under- 
stood this question just as well, and even better than we 
do now," speak as they spoke, and act as they acted upon 
it. This is all Eepublicans ask — all Republicans desire — 
in relation to slavery. As those fathers marked it, so let 
it be again marked, as an evil not to be extended, but to 
be tolerated and protected only because of and so far as 
its actual presence among us makes that toleration and 
protection a necessity. Let all the guaranties those 
fathers gave it, be, not grudgingl}^, but fully and fairly 
maintained. For this Republicans contend, and with 
this, so far as I know or believe, they will be content. 

And now, if they would listen — as I suppose they 
will not — I would address a few words to the southern 

I would say to them : You consider yourselves a rea- 
sonable and a just people ; and I consider that in the 
general qualities of reason and justice you are not inferior 
to any other people. Still, when you speak of us Repub- 
licans, you do so only to denounce us as reptiles, or, at 
the best, as no better than outlaws. You will grant a 
hearing to pirates or murderers, but nothing like it to 
*' Black Republicans." In all your contentions with one 
another, each of you deems an unconditional condemna- 
tion of "Black Republicanism" as the first thing to be 
attended to. Indeed, such condemnation of us seems to 
be an indispensable prerequisite — license, so to speak — • 
among you to be admitted or permitted to speak at all. 
' Now, can you, or not, be prevailed ujDon to pause and 
to consider whether this is quite just to us, or even to 
yourselves ? 

Bring forward your charges and specifications, and 
then be patient long enough to hear us deny or justify. 

g2 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

You say we are sectional. We deny it. That makes 
an issue; and tlie burden of proof is upon you. You 
produce your proof; and what is it? Why, that our 
party has no existence in your section — gets no votes in 
your section. The fact is substantially true ; but does it 
prove the issue? If it does, then in case we should, 
without change of principle, begin to get votes in your 
section, we should thereby cease to be sectional. You 
cannot escape this conclusion ; and yet, are you willing 
to abide by it ? If you are, you will probably soon find 
that we have ceased to be sectional, for we shall get votes 
in your section this very year. You will then begin to 
discover, as the truth plainly is, that your proof does not 
touch the issue. The fact that we get no votes in your 
section is a fact of your making, and not of ours. And 
if there be fault in that fact, that fault is primarily }- ours, 
and remains so until you show that we repel you by 
some wrong principle or practice. If we do repel you 
by any wrong principle or practice, the fault is ours ; but 
this brings us to where you ought to have started — to a 
discussion of the right or wrong of our principle. If 
our principle, put in practice, would wrong your section 
for the benefit of ours, or for any other object, then our 
principle, and we with it, are sectional, and are justly 
opposed and denounced as such. Meet us, then, on the 
question of whether our principle, put in practice, would 
wrong your section ; and so meet it as if it were possible 
that something may be said on our side. Do you accept 
the challenge? No? Then you really believe that the 
principle which our fathers who framed the Government 
under which we live thought so clearly right as to adopt 
it, and indorse it again and again upon their official oaths, 
is, in fact, so clearly wrong as to demand your condem- 
nation without a moment's consideration. 

Some of you delight to flaunt in our faces the warning 
against sectional parties given by Washington in his 
Farewell Address. Less than eight years before Wash- 
ington gave that warning, he had, as President of the 
United States, approved and signed an act of Congress, 
enforcing the prohibition of slavery in the Northwestern 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 93 

Territory, whicli act embodied tbe policy of the Govern- 
ment upon that subject, up to and at the very moment 
he penned that warning; and about one year after he 
penned it he wrote Lafayette that he considered that 
prohibition a wise measure, expressing in the same con- 
nection his hope that we should some time have a con- 
federacy of free States. 

Bearing this in mind, and seeing that sectionalism has 
since arisen upon this same subject, is that warning a 
weapon in your hands against us, or in our hands against 
you ? Could Washington himself speak, would he cast 
the blame of that sectionalism upon us, who sustain his 
policy, or upon you who repudiate it ? We respect that 
warning of Washington, and we commend it to you, 
together with his example pointing to the right applica- 
tion of it. 

But you say you are conservative — eminently con- 
servative — while we are revolutionary, destructive, or 
something of the sort. What is conservatism? Is it 
not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and 
untried ? We stick to, contend for, the identical old 
policy on the point in controversy which was adopted by 
our fathers who framed the Government under which 
we live ; while you with one accord reject, and scout, and 
spit upon that old policy, and insist upon substituting 
something new. True, you disagree among yourselves 
as to what that substitute shall be. You have consider- 
able variety of new propositions and plans, but you are 
unanimous in rejecting and denouncing the old policy 
of the fathers. Some of you are for reviving the foreign 
slave-trade ; some for a Congressional Slave-Code for the 
Territories ; some for Congress forbidding the Territories 
to prohibit Slavery within their limits ; some for main- 
taining Slavery in the Territories through the Judiciary ; 
some for the "gur-reat pur-rinciple" that "if one man 
would enslave another, no third man should object," 
fantastically called " Popular Sovereignty;" but never a 
man among you in favor of federal prohibition of slavery 
in federal territories, according to the practise of our 
fathers who framed the Government under which we 

94 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

live. Not one of all jour various plans can show a pre- 
cedent or an advocate in tlie century within which our 
Government originated. Consider, then, whether your 
claim of conservatism for yourselves, and your charge 
of destructiveness against ns, are based on the most clear 
and stable foundations. 

Again, yon say we have made the slavery question 
more prominent than it formerly was. We deny it. 
We admit that it is rflore prominent, but we deny tliat 
we made it so. It was not we, but you, wlio discarded 
the old policy of the fathers. We resisted, and still 
resist, your innovation ; and thence comes the greater 
prominence of the question. Would you liave that 
question reduced to its former proportions? Go back 
to that old policy. Wliat has been will be again, under 
tlie same conditions. If you would have the peace of 
the old times, re-adopt the precepts and policy of the 
old times. 

You cliarge that we stir up insurrections among your 
slaves. We deny it; and what is your proof? Harper's 
Ferry! John Brown! John Brown was no Repub- 
lican ; and ynu have failed to implicate a single Repul)- 
lican in his Harper's Ferry enterprise. If any member 
of our party is guilty in that matter, you know it or you 
do not know it. • If you do know it, you are inexcusable 
to not designate the man, and prove the fact. If you do 
not know it, you are inexcusable to assert it, and especi- 
ally to persist in the assertion after you have tried and 
failed to make the proof. You need not be told that 
persisting in a charge which one does not know to be 
true, is simply malicious slander. 

Some of you admit that no Republican desfgnedly 
aided or encouraged the Harper's Ferry affair; but still 
insist that our doctrines and declarations necessarilv 
lead to such results. We do not believe it. AVe know 
we hold to no doctrine, and make no declarations, which 
were not held to and made by our fathers who framed 
the Government under which we live. You never dealt 
fairly by us in relation to this affair. AYhen it occurred, 
some important State elections were near at hand, and 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 95 

yon were in evident glee with the belief that, by charg- 
ing the blame npon ns, yon could get an advantage of 
ns in those elections. The elections came, and your 
expectations were not quite fulfilled. Every Republi- 
can man knew that, as to himself at least, your charge 
was a slander, and he was not much inclined by it to cast 
his vote in your favor. Republican doctrines and decla- 
rations are accompanied with a continual protest against 
any interference whatever with your slaves, or with you 
about your. slaves. Surely, this does not encourage 
them to revolt. True, we do, in common with our 
fathers, who framed the Government under which we 
live, declare our belief that slavery is wrong; but the 
slaves do not hear us declare even this. For anything 
we say or do, the slaves would scarcely know there is a 
Republican party. I believe they would not, in fact, 
generally know it but for your misrepresentations of us, 
in their hearing. In your political contests among your- 
selves, each faction charges the other with symj)athy 
with I3lack Republicanism ; and then, to give point to 
the charge, defines Black Republicanism to simply be 
insurrection, blood and thunder among the slaves. 

Slave insurrections are no more common now than 
they were before the Republican party was organized. 
What induced the Southampton insurrection, twenty- 
eight years ago, in which, at least, three times as many 
lives were lost as at Harper's Ferry ? Yon can scarcely 
stretch your very elastic fancy to the conclusion that 
Southampton was got up by Black Republicanism. In 
the present state of things in the United States, I do not 
think a general, or even a very extensive slave insurrec- 
tion, is possible. The indispensable concert of action 
cannot be attained. The slaves have no means of rapid 
communication; nor can incendiary free men, black or 
white, supply it. The explosive materials are every 
where in parcels ; but there neither are, nor can be sup- 
plied, the indispensable connecting trains. 

Much is said by southern people about the affection 
of s-laves for their masters and mistresses; and a part of 
it, at least, is true. A plot for an uprising could scarcely 

96 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

be devised and communicated to twenty individuals 
before some one of them, to save tlie hfe of a favorite 
master or mistress, would divulo^e it. This is the rule; 
and the slave-revolution in Hayti was not an exception 
to it, but a case occurring under peculiar circum- 
stances. The gunpowder-plot of British history, though 
not connected with slaves, was more in point. In that 
case, only about twenty w^ere admitted to the secret; 
and yet one of them, in his anxiety to save a friend, 
betrayed the plot to that friend, and, by consequence, 
averted the calamity. Occasional poisonings from the 
kitchen, and open or stealthy assassitiations in the field, 
and local revolts extending to a score or so, will con- 
tinue to occur as the natural results of slavery ; but no 
general insurrection of slaves, as I think, can happen 
in this country for a long time. Whoever much fears, 
or much hopes, for such an event, will be alike dis- 

In the language of Mr. Jefferson, uttered many years 
ago, "It is still in our power to direct the process of 
emancipation, and deportation, peaceably, and in such 
slow degrees, as that the evil will wear off insensibly ; 
and their place be, pari passu^ filled up by free white 
laborers. If, on the contrary, it is left to force itself on, 
human nature must shudder at the prospect held up." 

Mr. Jeft'erson did not mean to say, nor do I, that the 
power of emancipation is in the Federal Government, 
lie spoke of Virginia ; and, as to the power of emanci- 
pation, I speak of the slaveholding States oidy. 

The Federal Government, however, as we insist, has 
the power of restraining the extension of the institution 
— the power to insure that a slave insurrection shall 
never occur on any American soil which is now free 
from slavery. 

John Brown's effort was peculiar. It was not a slave 
insurrection. It was an attempt by white men to get 
up a revolt among slaves, in which the slaves refused 
to participate. In fact, it was so absurd that the slaves, 
wnth all their ignorance, saw plainly enough it could 
not succeed. That affair, in its philosophy, corresponds 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 9^7 

with the many attempts, related in history, at tlie assas- 
sination of kings and emperors. An enthusiast broods 
over the oppression of a people till he fancies himself 
commissioned by Heaven to liberate them. He ven- 
tures the attempt, which ends in little else than in his 
own execution. Orsini's attempt on Louis Napoleon, 
and John Brown's attempt at Harper's Ferry were, in 
their philosophy, precisely the same. The eagerness to 
cast blame on old England in the one case, and on New 
England in the other, does not disprove the sameness of 
the two tilings. 

And how much would it avail you, if you could, by 
the use of John Brown, Helper's book, and the like, 
break up the Kepublican organization ? Human action 
can be modified to some extent, but human nature can- 
not be changed. There is a judgment and a feeling 
against slavery in this nation, which cast at least a 
million and a half of votes. You cannot destroy that 
judgment and feeling — that sentiment — by breaking up 
the political organization which rallies around it. You 
can scarcely scatter and disperse an army which has 
been formed into order in the face of your heaviest fire; 
but if you could, how much would you gain by forcing 
the sentiment which created it out of the peaceful chan- 
nel of the ballot box, into some other channel. What 
would that other channel probably be ? Would the 
number of John Browns be lessened or enlarged by the 

But you will break up the Union rather than submit 
to a denial of your Constitutional rights. 

That has a somewhat reckless sound ; but it would be 
palliated, if not fully justified, were we proposing, by the 
mere force of numbers, to deprive you of some right, 
plainly written down in the Constitution. But we are 
proposing no such thing. 

When you make these declarations, you have a specific 
and well-understood allusion to an assumed Constitu- 
tional right of yours, to take slaves into the federal ter- 
ritories, and hold them there as property. But no such 
right is specifically written in the Constitution. That 


98 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

instrument is literally silent about any sncli right. We, 
on the contrary, deny that such a right has any exis- 
tence in the Constitution, even by implication. 

Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is, that you will 
destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to con- 
strue and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all 
points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or 
ruin in all events. 

This, plainly stated, is your language to us. Perhaps 
you will say the Supreme Court has decided the disputed 
Constitutional question in your favor. Not quite so. 
But waiving the lawyer's distinction between dictum and 
decision, the Courts have decided the question for you 
in a sort of way. The Courts have substantially said, it 
is your Constitutional right to take slaves into the federal 
territories, and to hold them there as property. 

When I say the decision was made in a sort of wa}^, I 
mean it was made in a divided Court by a bare majority 
of the Judges, and they not quite agreeing with one an- 
other in the reasons for making it ; that it is so made as 
that its avowed supporters disagree with one another 
about its meaning, and that it was mainly based upon a 
mistaken statement of fact — the statement in the opinion 
that " the right of property in a slave is distinctly and 
expressly affirmed in the Constitution." 

An inspection of the Constitution will show that the 
right of property in a slave is not distinctly and expressly 
affirmed in it. Bear in mind the Judges do not pledge 
their judicial opinion that such right is impliedly affirmed 
in the Constitution ; but they pledge their veracity that 
it is distinctly and expressly affirmed there — " distinctly " 
that is, not mingled with anything else — "expressly" 
that is, in words meaning just that, without the aid of 
any inference, and susceptible of no other meaning. 

If they had only pledged their judicial opinion that 
such right is affirmed in the instrument by implication, 
it would be open to others to show that neither the word 
" slave " nor " slavery " is to be found in the Constitution, 
nor the word " property " even, in any connection with 
language alluding to the things slave, or slavery, and that 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. gg 

wherever in tliat instrument the slave is alluded to, lie is 
called a "person ; " and wherever his master's legal right 
in relation to him is alluded to, it is spoken of as " service 
or labor due," as a "debt" payable in service or labor. 
Also, it would be open to show, by contemporaneous 
history, that this mode of alluding to slaves and slavery, 
instead of speaking of them, was employed on purpose to 
exclude from the Constitution the idea that there could 
be property in man. 

To show all this is easy and certain. 

When this obvious mistake of the Judges shall be 
brought to their notice, it is not reasonable to expect that 
thej^ will withdraw the mistaken statement, and reconsider 
the conclusion based upon it ? 

And then it is to be remembered that " our fathers, 
who framed the Government under which we live" — the 
men who made the Constitution — decided this same Con- 
stitutional question in our favor, long ago — decided it 
without a division among themselves, when making the 
decision ; without division among themselves about the 
meaning of it after it was made, and so far as any evidence 
is left, without basiog it upon any^ mistaken statement of 

Under all these circumstances, do you really feel your- 
selves justified to break up this Government, unless such 
a court decision as yours is shall be at once submitted to 
as a conclusive and final rule of political action ? 

But you will not abide the election of a Repulican 
President. In that supposed event, you say, you will 
destroy the Union ; and then, you say, the great crime of 
having destroyed it will be upon us ! 

That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, 
and mutters through his teeth, " stand and deliver, or I 
shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer ! " 

To be sure, what the robber demanded of me — my 
money — was my own ; and I had a clear right to keep it ; 
but it was no more my own than my vote is my own ; 
and threat of death to me, to extort my monc}^, and the 
threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my vote, can 
scarcely be distinguished in principle. 

100 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

A few words now to Kepublicans. It is exceedingly 
desirable that all parts of this great Confederacy shall be 
at peace, and in harmony, one with another. Let ns 
Bepublicans do our part to have it so. Even though 
much provoked, let us do nothing through passion and 
ill temper. Even though the southern people will not 
so much as listen to us, let us calmly consider their de- 
mands, and yield to them if, in our deliberate view of our 
duty, we possibly can. Judging by all they say and do, 
and by the subject and nature of their controversy with 
us, let us determine, if we can, what will satisfy tliem ? 

Will they be satisfied if the Territories be uncondition- 
ally surrendered to them ? We know they will not. In 
all their present complaints against us, the Territories are 
scarcelv mentioned. Invasions and insurrections are the 
rage now. Will it satisfy them if, in the future, we have 
nothing to do with invasions and insurrections? We 
know it will not. We so know because we know we 
never had anything to do with invasions and insurrec- 
tions ; and yet this total abstaining does not exempt us 
from the charge and the denunciation. 

The question recurs, what will satisfy them ? Simply 
this : We must not only let them alone, but we must, 
somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. This, 
we know by experience, is no easy task. We have been 
so trying to convince them, from the very beginning of 
our organization, but with no success. In all our plat- 
forms and speeches we have constantly protested our pur- 
pose to let them alone ; but this has had no tendenc}^ to 
convince them. Alike unavailing to convince them is 
the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any 
attempt to disturb them. 

These natural, and apparently adequate means all fail- 
ing, what will convince them ? This, and this only : 
cease to call slaverj^- wrong ^ and join them in calling it 
right. And this must be done thoroughly — done in acts 
as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated — we 
must place ourselves avowedly with them. Douglas's 
new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppress- 
ing all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. loi 

ill politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must 
arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy plea- 
sure. We must pull down our Free-State Constitutions. 
The whole atmosphere must be disinfected from all taint 
of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to believe 
that all their troubles proceed from us. 

I am quite aware they do not state their case precisely 
in this way. Most of them would probably say to us, 
" Let us alone, do nothing to us, and say what you please 
about slavery." But we do let them alone — have never 
disturbed them — so that, after all, it is what we say, 
which dissatisfies them. They will continue to accuse us 
of doing, until we cease saying. 

I am also aware they have not, as yet, in terms de- 
manded the overthrow of our Free-State Constitutions. 
Yet those Constitutions declare the wrong of slavery, 
with more solemn emphasis, than do all other sayings 
against it ; and when all these other sayings shall have 
been silenced, the overthrow of these Constitutions will be 
demanded, and nothing be left to resist the demand. It 
is nothing to the contrary, that they do not demand the 
whole of this just now. Demanding what they do, and 
for the reason they do, they can voluntarily stop nowhere 
short of this consummation. Holding, as they do, that 
slavery is morally right, and socially elevating, they can- 
not cease to demand a full national recognition of it, as a 
legal right, and a social blessing. 

Kor can we justifiably withhold this, on any ground 
save our conviction that slavery is wrong. If slavery is 
right, all words, acts, laws, and constitutions against it, 
are themselves wrong, and should be silenced, and swept 
away. If it is right, we cannot justly object'to its nation- 
ality — its universality ; if it is wrong, they cannot justly 
insist upon its extension — its enlargement. All they ask, 
we could readily grant, if we thought slavery right ; all 
we ask, they could as readily grant, if they thought it 
wrong. Their thinking it right, and our thinking it 
wrong, is the precise fact upon which depends the whole 
controversy. Thinking it right, as they do, they are not 
to blame for desiring its full recognition, as being right ; 

102 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them ? 
Can we cast our votes with their view, and against our 
own ? In view of our moral, social, and political respon- 
sibilities, can we do this ? 

Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let 
it alone where it is, because that much is due to the 
necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation ; 
but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to 
spread into the National Territories, and to overrun ns 
here in these Free States ? 

If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by 
our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted 
by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we 
are so industriously plied and belabored — contrivances 
such as groping for some middle ground between the 
right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who 
should be neither a living man nor a dead man — such as 
a policy of "don't care" on a question about which all 
true men do care — such as Union appeals beseeching true 
Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine 
rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to 
repentance — such as invocations to Washington, implor- 
ing men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what 
Washington did. 

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false ac- 
cusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces 
of destruction to the government, nor of dungeons to 
ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and 
in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty, as 
we understand it. 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 103 


The Republican Nominating Convention met at 
Ciiicago on the 16th of May, and spent one day in 
organizing, another in adopting a platform, and on the 
third proceeded to ballot for a candidate. On the third 
ballot Abrani Lincoln was nominated, and immediately 
afterwards declared to be the unanimous choice of the 
Convention. The scene of enthusiasm which was then 
enacted both within and without the building is 
described by eye witnesses to have been extremely 
exciting. The fact that a citizen of Illinois had been 
nominated by so great and powerful a party for the 
office of President of the United States, very naturally 
awoke all the enthusiasm of his political allies in 
Chicago, and the members of the Convention themselves 
shared in the delight that their important labors had 
been so speedily and so peacefidly consummated. 
Hannibal Hamlin was, on the second ballot, nominated 
for the Yice-Presidency. 

The Committee appointed by the Chicago Conven- 
tion, comprising President Ashmun and the Chairmen 
of the State delegations, to officially announce to Mr. 
Lincoln his nomination, arrived at Springfield on Satur- 
day night, and proceeded to Mr. Lincoln's residence, 

104 'T^^ -^^^^ of^Abram Lincoln. 

where Mr. Aslimnu in a brief speech presented Mr. 
Lincoln the letter announcing his nomination. 

Mr. Lincoln replied, as follows : — 

Mr. Chairnian and Gentlemen of the Committee — I 
tender you, and through you to the Hepublican National 
Convention and all the people represented in it, my 
profoundest thanks for the high honor done me, which 
you formally announce. Deeply and even painfully 
sensible of the great responsibility which is inseparable 
from that honor, a responsibility which I could almost 
wish could have fallen upon some one of the far more 
eminent men and experienced statesmen, whose dis- 
tinguished names were before the Convention, I shall, 
by your leave, consider more fully the resolutions of the 
Convention denominated the platform, and without 
unreasonable delay respond to you, Mr. Chairman, in 
writing, not doubting that the platform will be found 
satisfactory, and the nomination accepted; and now I 
will no longer defer the pleasure of taking you and each 
of you by the hand. 


The platform on which the adherents of Lincoln and 
Hamlin are to fight during the present campaign is as 
follows : — 

Hesolved^ That we, the delegated representatives of 
the Republican electors of the United States, in Con- 
vention assembled, in the discharge of the dutj^ we owe 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 105 

to our constituents and our country, unite in the follow- 
ing declarations: — 

1st. That the history of the nation during the last four 
years has fully established the propriety and necessity 
of the organization and perpetuation of the Republican 
party, and that the causes which called it into existence 
are permanent in their nature, and now more than ever 
before demand its peaceful and constitutional triumph. 

2d. That the maintenance of the principles promul- 
gated in the Declaration of Independence, and embo- 
died in the Federal Constitution, is essential to the 
preservation of our Republican institutions, and that the 
Federal Constitution, the rights of the States, and the 
Union of the States, must and shall be preserved. 

3d. That to the Union of the States this nation owes 
its unprecedented increase in population ; its surprising 
development of material resources ; its rapid augmenta- 
tion of wealth ; its happiness at home and its honor 
abroad ; and we hold in abhorrence all schemes for dis- 
union, come from whatever source they may ; and we 
congratulate the country that no Republican member 
of Congress has uttered or countenanced a threat of 
disunion, so often made by Democratic members of 
Congress without rebuke, and with applause from their 
political associates ; and we denounce those threats of 
disunion, in case of a popular overthrow of their 
ascendancy, as denying the vital principles of a free 
government, and as an avowal of contemplated treason, 


io6 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

wliicli it is the imperative duty of an indignant people 
strongly to rebuke and for ever silence. 

UTi. That the maintenance, inviolate, of tlie rights of 
the States, and especially the right of each State to 
order and control its own domestic institutions, accord- 
ing to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that 
balance of power on which the perfection and endur- 
ance of our political faith depends ; and we denounce 
the lawless invasion by armed force of any state or Ter- 
ritory, no matter under what pretext, as among the 
gravest of crimes. 

hth. That the present Democratic administration has 
far exceeded our worst apprehensions in its measureless 
subserviency to the exactions of a sectional interest, as 
is especially evident in its desperate exertions to force 
the infamous Lecompton constitution upon the protest- 
ing people of Kansas — in construing the personal rela- 
tion between master and servant to involve an unquali- 
fied property in persons — in its attempted enforcement 
everywhere, on land and sea, through the intervention 
of Congress and the federal courts, of the extreme pre- 
tensions of a purely local interest, and in its general and 
unvarying abuse of the power entrusted to it by a con- 
fiding people. 

6^A. That the people justly view with alarm the reck- 
less extravagance which pervades every department of 
the federal government ; that a return to rigid economy 
and accountability is indispensable to arrest the system 
of plunder of the public treasury by favored partisans ; 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 107 

wliile the recent starthng developments of frand and 
corruption at the federal metropolis, show that an entire 
change of administration is imperatively demanded. 

^th. That the new dogma that the constitution of its 
own force carries slavery into any or all of the Terri- 
tories of the United States is a dangerous political 
heresy, at variance with the explicit provisions of that 
instrument itself, with contemporaneus exposition, and 
with legislative and judicial precedent ; is revolutionary 
in its tendency, and subversive of the peace and har- 
mony of the country. 

^th That the normal condition of all the territory of 
the United States is that of freedom ; that as our repub- 
lican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our 
national territory, ordained that no person should be 
deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process 
of law, it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever 
such legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision 
of the constitution against all attempts to violate it ; and 
we deny the authority of Congress, of a Territorial 
Legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence 
to slavery in any Territory of the United States. 

9^A. That we brand the recent reopening of the Afri- 
can slave trade, under the cover of our national flag, 
aided by perversions of judicial power, as a crime 
against humanity, a burning shame to our country and 
age ; and we call upon Congress to take prompt and 
efficient measures for the total and final suppression of 
that execrable traffic. 

io8 The Life of Abram Lincoln. 

10th. That in their recent vetoes by their federal go- 
vernors of the acts of the Legislature of Kansas and 
Nebraska, prohibiting slavery in those Territories, we 
find a practical illustration of the boasted Democratic 
principles of non-intervention and popular sovereignty, 
embodied in the Kansas and Nebraska bill, and a 
denunciation of the deception and fraud involved 

11th. That Kansas should of right be immediately 
admitted as a State under the Constitution recently 
formed and adopted by her people, and accepted by the 
House of Kepresentatives. 

I'^th. That while providing revenue for the support 
of the general government by duties upon imposts, 
sound policy requires such an adjustment of these 
imposts as to encourage the development of the indus- 
trial interest of the whole country, and we commend 
the policy of national exchanges* which secures to the 
working men liberal wages, to agriculture remunerating 
prices, to mechanics and manufacturers an adequate 
reward for their skill, labor and enterprise, and to the 
nation commercial prosperity and independence. 

12>th. That we protest against any sale or alienation to 
others of the public lands held by actual settlers, and 
against any view of the free Homestead policy which 
regards the settlers as paupers or supplicants for public 
bounty, and we demand the passage by Congress of the 
complete and satisfactory Homestead measure which has 
already passed the House. 

The Life of Abram Lincoln. 109 

14:th. That the National Eepublican party is opposed 
to any change in onr JSTatnralization laws, or any State 
legislation by which the rights of citizenship, hitherto 
accorded to immigrants from foreign lands, shall be 
abridged or impaired ; and in favor of giving a full and 
efficient protection to the rights of all classes of citizens, 
whether native or naturalized, both at home and abroad. 

15th. That appropriations by Congress for river and 
harbor improvements, of a national character, required 
for the accommodation and security of an existing com- 
merce, are authorized by the Constitution and justified 
by an obligation of the Government to protect the lives 
and property of its citizens. 

16th. That a railroad to the Pacific Ocean is impera- 
tively demanded by the interests of the whole country ; 
that the Federal Government ought to render immediate 
and efficient aid in its construction, and that as prelimi- 
nary thereto, a daily overland mail should be promptly 

17th. Finally, having thus set forth our distinctive 
principles and views, we invite the co-operation of all 
citizens, however differing on other questions, who sub- 
stantially agree with us in their affirmance and support. 

And so we have traced the career of the representative 
man, from his lowly origin and his early life as a splitter 
of rails and Mississippi flat-boatman, up to that proud 
moment when he received the formal announcement of his 
nomination to the position of President of theUnited States, 

no The Life of x\bratn Lincoln. 

a position in some respects the proudest tliat a living being 
can occupy. Others are as powerful, but they are inherited 
or won by bloodshed and fraud. Alexander of Eussia 
obtained his place by no merit of his own ; Kapoleon of 
France gained his by means that the world has agreed to ' 
pronounce disgraceful and unworthy ; but the President 
of the American republic is chosen by the free and honest 
suffrages of his countrymen. If Abram Lincoln is des- 
tined to be the next successor of "Washington and Adams 
and Jefferson and Jackson, let us trust that he will always 
continue to deserve his cognomen of Honest Old Abe. 






Mk. Lincoln represents the extreme West^ Mr. Ham- 
lin the furthest of the Eastern States. The latter was born 
in Paris, Oxford county, Maine, August 27, 1809, the same 
year which gave Lincoln to the world. He is by profes- 
sion a lawyer, but has been constantly in public life for 
the last twenty-four years. In 1836, when only twenty- 
seven years of age, he was elected a member of the State 
Legislature of Maine, and served in that capacity with 
so much ability as to be re-elected for four successive 
years. His comrades, as well as his constituents, must 
have appreciated him highly, for he was elected Speaker 
of the Legislative House of Kepresentatives when he was 
twenty-eight, and retained the position during three 
annual sessions. From the State capitol to the National 
capitol was the natural advancement, and in 1843 Mr. 

114 The Life of Hannibal Hamlin. 

Hamlin was sent to WashiDgton by tlie Democratic party, 
with whom he had always acted. He served four years 
in Congress with ability and fidelity to his constituents ; 
and at the expiration of his second term, returned to the 
state Legislature of Maine, his political friends leaving 
him no leisure from political life, and allowing him no 
respite from political honors. In 1848, on the death of 
John Fairfield, United States Senator, he was elected to 
fill the vacancy, in the the upper house of Congress ; and 
in 1851 was re-elected for the full term in the same body. 
In 1854, Mr. Hamlin formally left the Democratic party, 
mth which he had acted so long ; not approving of the 
Nebraska Bill, he felt it to be his duty to sever the 
political ties which he had hitherto acknowledged. Since 
then, he has been a firm and consistent Republican. His 
conduct at that time was the subject of great discussion, 
and contributed materially to the establishment of the 
Republican party in Maine. It received the complete 
endorsement of his native State. In 1857, having been 
elected Governor of Maine, he resigned his seat in the Sen- 
ate, and took the oath of inauguration as Governor on the 
same day, January 7, 1857. On the 16th of the same 
month he was re-elected United States Senator for six 
years, and resigned the office of Governor on the 20th 

The Life of Hannibal Hamlin. ^ 115 

of February, 1857. This peculiar heaping of honors 
"uj^on him. was looked upon by those who conferred them 
(the people and the Legislature), and by him who received 
them, as the reward of his behavior in 1854, and as an 
indication of the complete satisfaction that behavior kad 
afforded the Eepublicans of Maine. Mr. Hamlin's term 
in the Senate has not yet expired ; he is now a member 
of the Committee on Commerce, and on the District of 
Columbia. His abilities are solid rather than brilliant ; 
his talent executive rather than oratorical. His integrity 
is undoubted, his manners dignified, his character in every 
way eminently respectable. His nomination has been 
received by his party with complete satisfaction ; it was 
accomplished on the second ballot. 

On the evening of the 19th of May, the day after the 
nominations at Chicago were made, a serenade was offered 
Mr. Hamlin by the Eepublican Association of Washing- 
ton, on which occasion the candidate for the Yice Presi- 
dency made the following remarks : 

Fellow-citizens : Sympathizing with you in the prin- 
ciples which have united us, I am happ}^ to greet you on 
this occasion. I am pleased to mingle my thoughts with 
yours in that tribute which you pay to a common cause. 

1j6 The Life of Hannibal Hamlin. 

You have come, my friends, for the purpose of congratu- 
lating each other upon the result of the action of our 
friends who have met in council at Chicago, the commu- 
nication of whose decision has come to us over the tele- 
graphic wires. Unsolicited, unexpected, and undesired, 
the nomination has been conferred upon me. Unsolicited 
as it was, I accept it, with the responsibilities w^hich 
attach to it — in the earnest and ardent hope that the 
cause, which is superior to men, shall receive no detri- 
ment at my hands. You are here to pay tribute 
to that man who is to bear your standard on to what 
we hope and believe will be a triumphant victory. 
You are here to pay a tribute to that young giant of the 
West, who comes from that region where the star of em- 
pire has already culminated. You come to pay a tri- 
bute to that man who is not only the representative 
man of your principles, but a representative man of 
the people ; — that man who is identified in all your 
interests by his early associations in life, who sympa- 
thizes justly and truly with the labor of all this broad 
land, himself inured to toil. Capacious, comprehen- 
sive, a statesman incorruptible, a man over whom the 
shade of suspicion has never cast a reproach. 

But what is the mission, my friends, that is commit- 
ted to our hands? It is to bring back your Govern- 
ment to the position, to bring back the principles and 
practices of its fathers and founders, and administer in the 


The Life of Hannibal Hamlin. 117 

liglit of tlieir wisdom. It is to purge the Government of 
its corruptions, compared with which those in any other 
administration pale into utter insignificance. It is to 
maintain the integrity of the Union, with the just rights 
of all the States ; and- while the just rights of all the 
States are maintained, it is also to maintain that States 
shall not interfere in territories outside of their own juris- 
diction. And it is to give new aids to commerce across 
the trackless ocean — it is to foster and give new life to 
the industry of this broad land. 



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